Quick Earthquake Update

To anybody with friends or family in Kyoto and worried about them:

The quake was very minor in Kyoto (some 800km away from the epicentre). It was felt as a 2-3 (out of 7) on the Shindo scale: things got shaken a little bit, but no real damage. Tsunami warning was low for the region (and of course non-existent for land-locked Kyoto).
Everybody you know in the Kansai area is most likely fine.

Tokyo was still rather far from the epicenter (nearly 400km) and was shaken more seriously (upper 5 on the Shindo scale), but there wasn’t any major damage. If you have friends over there and haven’t heard back from them, it is most likely due to cellphones, electricity and transport being down for many hours (nuclear reactors are automatically stopped when major earthquakes occur). but they should be fine too.

Of course, the region north of Japan (Tohoku, particularly Miyagi-ken and the city of Sendai) have been hit most violently: the earthquake occurred about 200km off the coast of Miyagi-ken and registered a 7 in that area (the highest on the Shindo scale: about the same as Kobe during the Great Hanshin earthquake of 95). The ensuing tsunami (over 10m) and many large-scale fires have led to massive destruction in that region. But I am sure you have seen all this on the news already.

If you cannot reach people in that area or haven’t heard from them in a while: do not panic. Infrastructures are badly damaged, large parts of the phone and electricity grid are still down or saturated… And a lot of people may have had to leave their house in a rush without grabbing their cellphones. This doesn’t mean they aren’t OK.

Thanks for worrying and let’s hope the final toll isn’t too heavy.

Filed under: Japan

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