All major news networks are flashing the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck at 2.46 pm local time in the northeastern coast of Japan. The quake triggered a 10-meter tsunami. As I watched the footage of boats and cars being swept away, I thought about my friends and their family in Tokyo and other areas that were hit by the earthquake and then the tsunami.
Just yesterday, I was asking my good friend Hata about the 7.2 earthquake that struck on Wednesday. According to him, there was no damage in Tokyo as they were a distance away from the epicenter. I hope that they are safe this time too and remain safe in the aftermath. My prayers go out to them, especially at the Human Care Association, Centre for Independent Living Hino and Machida Human Network.
This is a rehash of Bloggers Are Morons, an entry that I posted following the March 29, 2005 earthquake. It is still relevant now although the scenario has changed somewhat. Instead of blogging about it the conventional way, people stay put to broadcast information on the earthquake via Twitter and Facebook first before evacuating. Fear means very little to these people. It was more important to get the information out rather than worry about their own safety. The technology has changed but the stupidity has not. All hail the new media! Just in case if you are wondering, no, I did not tweet about it. That was probably because I did not feel the tremor.
Facebook and Twitter is alive with chatter of earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale that hit off Sumatra near the city of Padang at 6.16pm just now. A tsunami watch has been issued for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India. I did not feel a thing. Nothing moved. The water in the aquarium did not slosh about. The doors did not rattle unlike the time when even the floor moved under me for a good one minute or more and made me giddy.
Having moved to a single storey house now, I still feel for those who are staying in high rise apartments, especially people with mobility impairments. Section 40 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (PWD Act 2008) states that disabled persons shall have the right to assistance in the event to natural disasters, among others.
I am interested in finding out if anything has been done to address this matter since my letter to Dato’ Seri Sharizat in May 9, 2005 regarding a systemtic evacuation plan for disabled people trapped in high rise buildings in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake or a fire. Dare I be optimistic and say that surely the government has done something since the PWD Act 2008 has already clearly spelt that out in as many words?