Earthquakes Shake West Japan
Monday, September 6, 2004 Posted: 12:57 PM JST
Last night we had two pretty heavy earthquakes, one magnitude 6.9 and the second magnitude 7.3, centered on Mie and Wakayama, but felt all over central Japan. The quake that devastated Kobe and killed more than 6,400 people in 1995 was a magnitude 7.2, so yesterday's potential for a disaster was enormous. Thankfully both quakes were deep, far off Japan's coast and the epicenter was near a sparsely populated rural area, so little damage and only a few injuries were reported.
But tall buildings in Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya shook, while buildings swayed in Tokyo. A tsunami (tidal wave) warning was issued for pretty much the whole coast line of West Japan and lots of people were evacuated, but it never reached much higher than 1 meter. Train services were suspended for a little while, but continued soon after it became clear that there was no damage.
Having lived through the Kobe quake of 1995 these two shocks came as an unwelcome reminder shortly before the 10th memorial. It took a little while before my heart stopped racing and the pain in my chest faded away. Many of my friends with memories of the Kobe quake appeared to have the same experience. I tried to reach friends who live in the areas that were hit but it was impossible to reach anyone by phone. E-mail gave more success. An important lesson for the next time a big quake hits.
Keywords: national_news disasters
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