TIM AJMANI – The Corsair
The earthquake was bad enough – a 9.0, one of the strongest in Japanese history. But the tsunami and the 7.1 quake in aftershock that followed were even worse. Now, Japan is dealing with potential problems in the future with nuclear meltdowns, and radiation following a couple of explosions at its nuclear plants. With more than 3,400 confirmed deaths, and more than 7,000 people missing, this could be one of the worst disasters in history. Already the disaster is expected to cost more in damage than last year’s earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is really bad right now, but it is very likely that full costs will not be felt until sometime in the future.
The biggest question has to be regarding the full potential damages of nuclear radiation. Japanese officials, according to CNN, say that radiation rates rose to 400 millisieverts per hour. The average individual receives 3.1 millisieverts per year, creating huge concern over the future health of Japanese people. Obviously, the whole country of Japan will be affected because of its size. But the countries in proximity to Japan might be as well, like the Koreas and Russia.
The impact of the world’s economies is another problem. Every industry in Japan will be affected. Toyota, one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, reportedly halted production and may lose the produce of 40,000 vehicles due to power shortages. Days before the earthquake, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped more than two hundred points. After the earthquake, the Dow had dropped more than three hundred points. Economists have predicted that Japan’s economy will recover relatively smoothly, but that remains to be seen.
What does this do in terms of preparation for future disasters? With the damage to Japanese nuclear plants, I expect that many countries will look at this and make safety changes to their nuclear plants to minimize damage if a similar disaster occurs. Nuclear radiation is invisible, and the likely consequences probably will not show up in Japan for some time regarding their citizen’s health, as well as environmental damage. The aspect of this disaster that should be most disturbing to the world is that each big earthquake, as well as tsunami, is more hazardous than the last one.
Japan’s earthquake affects not only the citizens of Japan, but everyone in the world. Japan likely will not recover quickly, despite what many say, but the great thing is that many countries are contributing to their recovery efforts, and that’s what the world will need should another huge disaster occur.