Saturday, 12 March 2011

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

As the ramifications of the massive earthquake in Japan start to sink in, I imagine most people are sparing a thought for the tens of thousands of people killed, injured or displaced by the tragedy. At times like this, the concerns of our own lives seem all too trivial and inconsequential. So I had a shitty drive to work yesterday, but at least I wasn't being chased down in two directions by a twenty foot wave full of flaming maritime debris like one vehicle I saw on the news coverage of the tsunami.

When faced with disaster on such an epic scale, it's easy to feel rather powerless. Most people are content with writing open posts on Facebook and Twitter, declaring a social media solidarity with the people of Japan. No doubt there'll be a number of fundraisers and charity events to follow, encouraging us to make whatever contribution we can to support the people affected.

Although Japan bore the brunt of the earthquake and its after-effects, the tsunami provided a timely reminder of just how international a major tectonic incident can be. Yesterday, as emergency services began the grim task of calculating the predicted death toll in and around Sendai, oceanic experts were estimating likely impact times for the waves in countries thousands of miles away.

The entire west coast of North America was on alert for most of the day, as freakishly large waves raced inexorably across the Pacific ocean. Hotels were evacuated, docks were cleared and beaches were closed. Although the waves lost much of their scale and destructive power during their journey, a considerable amount of damage was done, with harbours in California and Oregon receiving a major battering.

Further up the coast, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the cast of the final Twilight: Breaking Dawn were moved to a safe location as a precaution. Although it was clear that the actors were in no real danger, it probably made the film's insurers feel a little better to know that the talent was safe and sound.

It's just a shame no-one mentioned this to Tinsel Korey, who plays Makah Emily Young in the series. Thinking that she was in grave danger, she took to Twitter to tell her beloved fans that she was ready to meet her maker, despite the fact that even the film's most dedicated followers would have trouble picking her out of a line-up.

She tweeted "They're evacuating us 4 a tsumnani [sic] warning. If this … is my last my tweet. I love you. The end. Hugz." following it up later with "If this is the moment. Then I've lived a good life. And I'm thankful 4 everything I've been given. 1 love. :)" Because nothing says "I understand the gravity of the situation" like 'Hugz' and and smiley emoticon.

Unfortunately, some people are incapable of comprehending any kind of disaster until they've processed it into a personal tragedy. OK, so your life's falling apart, but what does that mean for me? 

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