Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reminder from Down Under

This week, on Tuesday, February 22, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand. So far 145 are confirmed dead, with another 200 missing. Over 30,000 have no power, 62,000 are without water and at least 100,000 have no access to sewer service.

Adding insult to injury, this is the second big quake that hit New Zealand. On September 4, an even bigger quake hit nearly this same spot with a 7.1 magnitude jolt. Fortunately, because the quake hit in the very early morning hours, most people were not at work or on the streets, so no lives were lost, but a lot of older structures fell and the damage was city-wide and extensive.

To put these numbers into perspective, consider that Christchurch has a population of 348,000, or about 1/12 of New Zealand's population of 4 million. We have nearly that many in Orange County alone (3 million), but less than half of Los Angeles County's 10 million.

What do all these numbers mean? Think of it this way...imagine that a 6.3 or 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit in either Orange or La County... Thousands, not hundreds, could be missing. A million or more would be left without water, sewer or power. Access to freeways would likely be limited, at best, and life as we know it would come to a halt. And not for a day or two, but for weeks and probably months before a real semblance of normalcy would return.

If this scares you, that is not my intent. This is just a reminder that Mother Nature shows her self randomly and with no warning. So rather than being scared, get energized. Remember that being prepared for disaster is the best way to not only survive, but to survive well. I feel saddened when I see the images of those New Zealanders digging out of the rubble, but it does harden my resolve to keep typing and reminding that we all need to be prepared.

We just need to listen to Mother's occasional reminders. Even when she is “down under.”

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