An earthquake of magnitude 8.9 to 9.1 (I’ve been reading various magnitudes from various sources) shook Japan almost 24 hours ago. To put this in perspective, that’s the largest earthquake ever in Japan’s recorded history and one of the largest earthquakes ever since modern earthquake measurements have been taken.
As a result of such a disaster, people are dead. People are missing. Both of these numbers will rise over the next few days. Thankfully the people I know who are in Japan are on the other side of the country and are fine, though they did feel the quake. So far everyone I know who knows someone in the country has heard good news (or at least hasn’t said that they’ve heard bad news). Google has set up a person finder for the earthquake if you’re looking for someone or have information on someone’s whereabouts.
If you’re looking to donate money to help rebuild, Charity Navigator has an article on what to look for before donating, along with a list of some charities that are helping out in some way. While I don’t have a personal favorite charity to donate to and do encourage you to do your research before donating, it’s worth mentioning that the American Red Cross has made the text to donate method very popular again. Text REDCROSS to 90999 in the US to donate $10. (I believe there’s a way for Canadian residents to do the same, but I can’t find it at the moment.)
Another thing worth mentioning is that Japan’s engineers and regular drills saved lives. See, the Japanese engineers have different priorities when designing a building, primarily to make sure the building doesn’t move when an earthquake occurs. You’d think that other earthquake-heavy areas like the western U.S. would take the same thing into account as a higher priority. Apparently not. I wonder if those who work on buildings in earthquake zones will learn from this. That will remain to be seen.