Three Letters Re: The Earthquake in Japan and its Aftermath

Dear James,  
I just wanted to alert you to the possible impact of what is actually happening at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant.  The grid has gone down, and it appears that the emergency diesel generators have failed.  There is apparently no off-site or on-site AC power.  This is very similar to the scenario that I outlined in my article posted last September in SurvivalBlog (except for the precipitating event for my article described an EMP event).  We have a potential disaster worse than Chernobyl in the making.   In fact, even the mainstream media is now taking note.  Here is a blog article from today on Forbes that describes the possible catastrophe in the making.   I hope that this will inspire some of the people who said “that could never happen” to sit up and take notice.  I hope that more people will “wake up” and start to prepare for what really COULD happen here.    Thanks again for all that you do.   Sincerely – B.Z.

I just finished watching an NHK World video of the tsunami wave rolling across farmland in Sendai, Japan.

A few things jumped out at me as I looked at the smaller details:

Several cars can be seen stopping on the roadways, turning around and trying to flee in the opposite direction when the drivers see that the wave has engulfed the road in front of them.  In one case, a driver can be seen evacuating his car and attempting to outrun the wave on foot.  I lost count of the number of people who were running or driving 100 yards or less from the approaching wave.  It was a somber moment to realize that some of those people I saw were likely overtaken by the flood and perished.

As the wave tore down houses and farms, the announcer mentioned that the earthquake had hit just an hour and ten minutes prior.  I was reminded how quickly disaster can strike and shocked at how many souls were still standing there when the first waves hit.  This is in a country with some of the most sophisticated and expensive earthquake and tsunami preparations in the world, and still the mass of people disregarded the warnings.

I watched one scene where cars were lined up trying to navigate down a road, again with the wave rapidly approaching from the rear.  Many drivers simply waited in line for the cars ahead of them to move.  A few drivers wisely decided to ignore the local traffic laws at that moment and cut over into the oncoming lane which was devoid of traffic (who wants to drive toward a tsunami?)  Amazingly, many drivers just continued to wait in line while those behind moved to safety.

Lesson: Make your G.O.O.D. plans and execute them at the first hint of danger.  We all theoretically know how quickly situations can disintegrate, but these videos are proof.  I’d rather have to come home and unpack than to be helpless because I waited a whole hour to see how bad it would get.

It’s sad to see such loss of life and to know that so much could have been avoided. – JCW


Dear Mr. Rawles,
My phone rang sometime after 4 A.M. After rousing myself from bed I heard a message from the local sheriff recommending a voluntary evacuation due to incoming tsunami. I woke my wife. When I looked at the clock I discovered I had two minutes before the tsunami hit. Not enough time to get to higher ground. Thankfully,  in southern Alaska the tsunami was tiny. However, it was a literal and figurative wake-up call. If it had been more serious my family and I could have been swept out to sea. I calculated that I had 7 minutes from the time I heard the message to the tsunami’s impact.

My family was lucky. I do not plan to rely on luck again. Every family member will soon have a b.o.b. near the door. We will practice evacuation.  I plan to run several drills in the middle of the night. I was surprised how slowly I moved and how sluggish my thinking was at that time of day. I read survivalblog everyday, but I did not take concrete steps that are necessary to protect my family.  I write this to hopefully remind others that it is not enough to know what to do in a disaster you must practice and have your gear readily accessible. You never know when the time will come for you to grab what is available and flee. Thanks, – T.A. in Southern Alaska