Does the current situation in Japan qualify as an “epic” disaster?
I don’t know, but the unfolding drama at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will cast the final vote. All eyes are focused on the crisis, but what exactly are most of us seeing…and learning?
As a writer that recently launched a novel centered around an “epic” human disaster…The Jakarta Pandemic, I saw frightening similarities between the research driven scenario I had created for my story, and the media stories spilling out of Japan. I admit, there is a big difference between the instantly devastating impact of an earthquake/tsunami hit, and the slower burn of a gradually worsening pandemic disaster. However, I wasn’t thinking in terms of the immediate blunt physical impact. I really focused on the after-effects. Stories of evacuation, refugees, food and supply shortages…and not just for the immediate victims, but everyone ultimately affected, even as far away as Tokyo.
I especially considered the citizens forced to evacuate the 12 mile radius around the Fukushima plant. What did they bring with them? How much did they have to bring? What about the people in the next distance ring, who were told to stay indoors? Do they have enough food, water and supplies to stay put for an extended period of time? Or would they be forced to flee due to lack of necessities. Where are all of these people going?
I wondered if the individual families had ever planned for this type of disaster? I know you can’t devise a plan to thwart a thirty foot high wall of water, but did people immediately head away from the coast after the earthquake? They certainly didn’t have much time to react.
I thought about the concept of what survivalist/preppers call a Bug Out Bag (BOB)…actually, they have an entire lingo (Bug Out Vehicle, Bug Out Location…etc). A BOB is a conveniently located, pre-packed bag designed to get you (and your family) through the first 72 hours of an emergency that requires you to leave your home. I won’t get into detail about the contents, but you get the idea. If the tidal wave alarm sounds, or you experience an earthquake (and you live close to the ocean)…you can throw this bag into your BOV, start driving inland, and rest assured that you have the basics covered (cash, clothes, first-aid, food, water…more).
There are some basic preparation steps that can make an immense difference, whether you are stuck in your residence with no way to resupply essential items, or are forced to flee (immediately or with plenty of time) a disaster zone. Many of these preparations overlap, and can serve you well during something as minor as a nasty winter storm.