By Judy Reed
The U.S. Geological Service and Japanese has determined that the magnitude of the earthquake that hit the east coast of Honshu, Japan at 12:46 a.m. (EST) on March 11, 2011 was a 9.0, making it the fourth largest in the world since 1900, and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago.
The quake generated a tsunami, which hit Japan within 25 minutes of the quake with waves up to 33 feet high. The waves quickly swept inland for several miles, carrying along mud, boats and debris, including burning homes. The tsunami generated warnings for 20 countries, including the western coast of the United States and Hawaii, but did not create widespread damage for other countries. Deaths and injuries are in the thousands in Japan, and they now have radiation leaking from four nuclear reactors.
Honshu, Japan is still receiving aftershocks, including one of 6.0 Wednesday.
Cedar Springs resident Yuko Roberts, who works at the Cedar Springs Library, came here from Japan in 1986. Here parents live here now, but she has relatives back in Japan.
“They all live a little south of Tokyo. Although they felt the initial earthquake (o/a M5) there, and had power outages for a couple of days, they had no damage to their houses,” she said. “But people in Miyagi prefecture and other places where the M8.9 (now 9.0) earthquake hit are still suffering from more than 100 aftershocks (includes at least 3 new earthquakes). And the damages from the tsunami is way worse than the quake itself, not to mention nuclear power plant’s explosions,” she explained.
Yuko said that while she personally does not know anyone injured, her daughter’s friend, who is a Japanese exchange student, has a friend who lost his friend. So her kids have started a fundraising project at their schools, Yuko set up a jar at the library. She is calling it Project Senbazuru (Thousand Cranes). “For every one dollar you donate, I will fold one paper crane, and when it reaches 1,000, I will send them to Japan with messages and prayers along with $1,000,” explained Yuko.
She said she is looking into which charity might be the best organization to give the money to.
For a list of agencies supporting relief efforts in Japan, go to www.interaction.org/crisis-list/interaction-members-support-japan-earthquake-response.
Before donating, read an article from the Better Business Bureau on our business page about donating to charities (page 12).