Disaster of epic proportions

Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Aren’t the disasters that have occurred in Japan horrifying and overwhelming? I hadn’t really understood why a tsunami is so dangerous and powerful until reading some of the explanations in the press. I’ve lived through some pretty bad hurricanes and a killer tornado (Worcester, Mass., 1954), but these are nothing compared to what happened in Japan. The scale of disaster is staggering. Now there is the complication of damage to nuclear plants and explosions that have occurred. My husband and I discovered that ALJAZEERA has the best, most comprehensive on-the-ground live coverage.

I have been to Japan a few times, most recently, last fall and interact with Japanese colleagues through professional activities. My heart goes out to the people of Japan.

What have we learned about preparedness?

The U.S. has made some progress in preparedness after September 11th, but we’re beginning to forget. Our School has both a N.C. Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (NCPERRC) and the Center for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP). They are important parts of keeping this country prepared for natural and man-made disasters and learning from experience. The training center has provided continuing education and other programs to thousands of people in the southeast U.S. Other centers are focusing on different geographic areas. Both programs are slated for extinction in FY12 budget. We all should worry if this is an indication that the U.S. has backed off of investment in preparedness.

It was a gorgeous day in North Carolina Sunday and almost inconceivable to think of the scenes playing out in Japan. Happy Monday. Barbara

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