Monday, March 14, 2011

An indescribable tragedy

The scenes that continue to emerge from Japan are simply heartbreaking.

I was listening to Christiane Amanpour’s live report from outside Tokyo as I began to write this blog. I also streamed NHK English on my computer throughout the weekend, but mere adjectives and superlatives cannot possibly capture the scope of the tragedy that continues to unfold.

The destruction an earthquake can cause only became clear to me when I visited Chile’s Colchagua Valley in January. Our guide pointed out several vacant lots along the road into Santa Cruz that had been homes before an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Central Chile on Feb. 27, 2010. The earthquake, which generated a tsunami that inundated coastal cities and towns, largely destroyed the church that had stood along the south side of Santa Cruz’s Plaza de Armas. The hotel in which we stayed sustained serious damage during the earthquake, and it only reopened in September.

The Chilean government evacuated low-lying areas along the country’s coastline on Friday, March 11, but the tsunami caused only minor damage. Japan, however, was not nearly as fortunate. And the only thing that seems appropriate at this time is to keep the Japanese people in one’s thoughts.

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