Saturday, March 19, 2011

If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Need Not Fear

The events of the last week have really been on my heart and mind.  I haven't blogged yet about what's been happening so I guess I should so years from now when I read this again, I won't go, "Huh?  What events?"

On Friday, March 11, there was a 9.0 earthquake just off the east coast of Japan.  Shortly thereafter, a large tsunami hit the coast and devoured what was left after the earthquake.  The earthquake was so bad, that the position of Japan moved 17 feet to the east and changed the axis of the earth. 

The devastation is horrific.  Because Japan is a much more developed nation than many of the islands in Indonesia, the damage is much worse than that of the earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004 in Banda Aceh.  Luckily, the loss of life is far less due to tsunami warning systems and such.
This building was first destroyed by the earthquake, then by the tsunami, and then a fire finished it off.
This is a picture of part of the tsunami coming in.  It just washed right over everything.
The waves in some areas were over 11 meters high, which is about 33 feet.  They came in at about 500 miles per hour.  It's no wonder everything in it's path was just swept away.  They found that the waves travelled at least 5 miles inland in some areas.
All of these cars were lined up and ready to be loaded onto ships bound for the U.S. and other places around the world.  The tsunami just picked them up and shoved them on top of each other and into a big pile.
And then, as if that wasn't enough damage, many of them caught file and were completely destroyed.
As the tsunami dragged a bunch of homes out to sea, many of them caught fire as well.
This luxury yacht ended up on top of a building...
...and so did these cars.  That tells you just how high the waves were.  Devastating.  Just devastating.
Every time I see this picture, I want to cry.  This poor girl, just sitting there crying her heart out at the death and destruction...the anguish on her face says it all.
This used to be a beautiful village.  Now, everything is just gone.  Ripped from the foundations.  Washed out to sea.  Gone.  Just gone.
This was a bustling waterfront community.  Now, the only thing that remains are the hospital and the shells of a few buildings.
This picture captured a house just floating out to sea.  Weird.  Sad.
Now, this picture just amazed me.  A huge fishing ship...just sitting on the road.  It was literally just lifted up out of the water and deposited on the road.  Do you realize how much those ships weigh?  A LOT!
So sad...dead bodies wrapped in blankets laying on the side of a sea of pieces of wood, cars, mud, etc.
This picture is fascinating.  It is an image from NOAA showing a satellite reading of the tsunami wave height as it spreads across the Pacific Ocean.  This tsunami was so large that it reached the coast of the United States.  It destroyed the harbor and docks in Crescent City, California.  The wave height when reaching the U.S. was about 8 feet above normal.  There were over 50 countries that ended up having tsunami warnings issued because of this one tsunami.

There are a number of nuclear power plants that have been severely damaged and are exposing residents to radiation.
There are fears that the radiation will spread to the United States through the jet stream in the upper atmosphere.  The International Atomic Energy Agency had originally rated this as a level 4 accident, but has now upgraded it to a level 5. 
In comparison, the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania was also considered a level 5.  The disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 was considered a level 7 - the highest on the IAEA chart.

As of today, they have now found food in Japan that is covered with radiation, mainly spinach and milk...that is, if you can find food in the affected areas...
I have been so amazed by the Japanese people during this crisis.  There are no reports of looting.  The people wait patiently for water, food, gas, cell phone charging.  They don't crowd to get to the food first.  They just wait for their turn.  I think it is their "honor" and "respect" that they have for themselves and their country.  It's sad to say, but I'd hate to see what would happen in our country if this had happened here.  No wonder everyone here is buying up guns and ammo and such...

So...what does all of this have to do with me?  Today, Melon Man and I did our little breakfast jaunt to The Coral.  While we sat there talking about planning a trip to Europe next year or the year after, he suddenly said he wanted to go to Honeyville.  It was cleaning day, but I called Holly and rescheduled for next week, and we were off.  It's about an hour away from home, but it was a nice drive and time for us to just talk.

Melon Man was having very strong feelings that we need to add to our preparedness supply.  He even said that he wanted to go through everything we have to determine what we have and what we don't.  I was happy to hear that because I've had that on my "to-do" list for a while.

We arrived at the store and headed in.  His big item to get this time was a 100 gallon water barrel...or two.  They only had one left.  We grabbed it up.  Then, we saw the monster of all water barrels...a 300 gallon-er.  What a huge tank!  We figured it out that it would actually be cheaper to buy that than to buy 3 of the 100 gallon barrels.  Plus, it was easier to store one of those than it is to store 3 of the 100s.  It was $70 more than we planned on spending on water barrels today, but Melon Man was pretty set on us getting more water storage in general so I was okay with it.  But, they only had the floor model available, so we had our name added to the order list and it should be in within the next few weeks.  We ended up getting the 100 gallon one to ensure we have more water than we do now.  We recently lost another 55 gallon barrel to a leak so we were down to three instead of four.  Now, we have the equivalent of five barrels, so that is good.  Soon, we'll have the equivalent of 11 barrels!  That, according to Melon Man and the recommendation of 1 gallon per person per day, will be almost enough for the two of us for a year.  I think eventually we will get one more 300 gallon barrel and then we'll feel good/better about our supply.  (All of the 55 gallon barrels were sold out.  Goes to show how this event has really freaked people out about getting water storage!)

Watching the news this week has really put things in perspective for us.  There are so many empty shelves in stores in Japan right now.  On one hand, I think to myself, well, we have food storage.  On the other hand, I think about how if we lived in Japan, it would have probably all been washed away anyway.  But then, I think to myself, I don't live in Japan, nor do I live anywhere near a major body of water in which a tsunami would, it's not very likely that my food storage will be washed away.  It's not likely that an earthquake will demolish my house since this is Arizona and according to the U.S. Geological website, there are only 7 fault lines in Arizona.  However, I just found out that there actually was an earthquake here yesterday - it was a 3.7 just 94 miles north of Phoenix and occurred at 12:54 p.m.  Hmm...didn't feel it.  Anyhow...this is the closest fault line within 100 miles of our house...
It's not very big.  And it's quite a ways away from us.
And, according to this map of earthquake zones by the USGS, there are really no earthquake faults in the Phoenix/Mesa zones of Arizona.  So...I feel pretty secure that we're probably okay earthquake-wise where we are...except in the event a super-big one hits in California.  I'm sure we'll feel it, but it likely won't be anything major for us damage-wise.

So, even though it may not be that we have a tsunami or an earthquake or something major like that that could hinder our ability to have food or water, we do have this nearby...
Yes, it's a nuclear power plant...and, it's only 47 miles away from our house...and it's the largest in the world.

So, now, we face the same concerns that the people of Japan are facing in the event something happens at Palo Verde.  Lovely.  I guess what I'm saying is that I'm glad I have food and water stored so if something were to happen, I could stay locked up in my little house, not have to battle with people to try to find food, and not have to worry about the water supply being contaminated from radiation. 

I'm glad that our church leaders have admonished us for years to be prepared, to store food and water sufficient for our families in the event of a disaster or in the event of a personal need due to job loss, illness, or otherwise.  And, I'm glad I have a husband that feels strongly about heeding that counsel.  It's not fun to put out a ton of money for big black and blue barrels that cause the neighbors to wonder if you're stocking up fertilizer to build a bomb or such or to have piles of #10 cans stacked up in the corner of your pretty bedroom, or to have people make fun of you because you talk with joy about buying food in cans.  But, I'll take all of those things over standing in a long line to get a measly bowl of "mush" and hope that it will get me by for a couple days because there is no food anywhere to be found.

1 comment:

Casey Lu said...

AMEN Kristin! We feel the same way. That is why we are also working on stocking up our food supply. Thank goodness for our prophets and their wise council! Could you get me the info on Honeyville? I have never heard of it.

With the 300+ gallon barrels, do they mention at all if the weight of them can crack the concrete slab? That is something to consider. The excess weight of the big ones could weaken the slab from what Ehren and I have been told by a supplier for the water barrels we get. Let me know. I would like to get a larger capacity water barrel but don't want to risk the concrete. Miss you and hope your doing good!