State of emergency

It happens without warning: One minute all is “normal” in the world and the next minute disaster.

On the morning of March 11, a 23-foot wall of water slammed into the Japanese coast and devastated the city of Sendai. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the largest to ever strike Japan, caused a massive tsunami that has killed more than 1,800 people and injured more than 1,900 people.

The death toll continues to rise as rescue crews continuously search for survivors. The Japanese government reported that 2,369 people are still missing according to CNN.

The Sendai airport has been completely destroyed. Houses, buildings, roads and railways have been destroyed or severely damaged. An estimated 4.4 million homes were left without power and 1.4 million have no water. According to the World Reporter, the estimated economic loss is approximately $170 billion just to the region that was hit by the tsunami.

Imagine watching your home being washed away by a wall of water and being left with nothing. Imagine losing many family members and friends on the same day without warning. How would you cope with such a tremendous loss?

For thousands of people in Japan this is now their world. The worst, however, may not be over. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami damaged three nuclear power plants. One of the plant’s cooling systems was affected and has caused the plant to overheat and release radioactive steam into the atmosphere.

In a time of tragedy, the responsibility to help the grieving nation rebuild lies on the shoulders of other nations. Japan has a very stable economy, but large parts of its infrastructure were destroyed in the natural disaster. It will not be able to fully recover without our help.

The U.S. and other affluent nations should reach out and support Japan in this time of crisis. It was only six years ago that New Orleans and the Gulf coast were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. n