This is a chart of the ionizing dose of radiation that a person can absorb from various sources, including the amount we receive from sleeping next to someone, eating a banana, getting a chest x-ray, sitting in front of a computer screen for a year, an airplane trip from New York to California and the radiation from the destroyed Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami. Click on the chart twice to get a larger view.
My mushiness over animals has increased exponentially since I started volunteering at an animal shelter. I was already a big sap before I started work at Wayside Waifs.
I know it’s just a drop in a very big bucket, but I’ve donated money to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. The link is at the bottom. If you’re on Facebook, search for “Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support”. It provides updates on the work it’s doing.
Some people may ask: “Why bother with animals when so many people are suffering in Japan?”
Here’s what Scott Simon of NPR had to say on March 19, 2011:
A news crew from Fuji TV saw a couple of dogs this week, lying in the wreckage of Mito, Japan.
A dog with brown and white splotches seemed to hover over one with gray, black and white splotches. Both dogs looked grimy. The second dog didn’t seem to move.
When the dog with brown and white splotches came toward the crew, they thought it was warning them to stay away. But it returned to the other dog, and put a paw on its head.
Then they understood: the dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.
Japan is a nation of pet lovers. Most families have a dog or cat, birds, a rabbit, or other pets in their apartments.
When I covered Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, it seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, “I couldn’t leave my pet.” But earthquakes strike suddenly. People can get stuck at work, school, or in panicked transit, leaving pets to fend for themselves.
Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins.
To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, “. . . helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.”
The dog with brown and white splotches and his friend with gray, black and white splotches were rescued, and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.
Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers, says on Facebook:
“. . . The one which came close to the camera is in the better condition. The other . . was weak. . . But please know that those two are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more and we need help.”
I noticed another, smaller story this week. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, went for 1.5 million U.S. dollars in China. Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols there. Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, “He is a perfect specimen.”
The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?
To help the Japanese people, you can give to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. This is the link I used to donate to The Salvation Army in Japan. Salvation Army Quake Relief.
Below is a photograph I took in 2002 of The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan. The Japanese people have a long tradition of strength, beauty and endurance, and they will re-build. Below the photograph is a translation of the Japanese in the video.
UPDATE: CNN and the UK Telegraph have both reported that the dogs have been rescued since the footage aired, and are both receiving veterinary care; the more seriously wounded dog is at a clinic in the city of Mito, while the protective spaniel-type dog is receiving care at a shelter in the same town.
Here is an English translation of the voiceover exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He’s getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.
This was the view of the ChristChurch Cathedral from our hotel window in February 2009. Cathedral Square, which was heavily affected by the February 2011 earthquake, was a center of city activity.
My heart goes out to the wonderful people of Christchurch, New Zealand. The death and destruction is terrible. I’m sharing in this post some of my photographs of this beautiful city and its residents from a visit there in early February 2009. At the bottom is a link to the Red Cross in New Zealand, originally posted by Greg Royal, known online as Kiwi Bloke.
I’ve posted a link below to another traveller’s blog post showing the beautiful ChristChurch Cathedral interior.
A 6.3 magnitude quake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, just before 1 p.m. local time on February 22, 2011. Earthquakes often rattle New Zealand, but this earthquake was shallow and close to the city, which is New Zealand’s second largest city and the largest on the south island. The February 22nd earthquake was less powerful than a 7.1 quake that struck before dawn on September 4, 2010, that damaged buildings but killed no one. Experts said Tuesday’s quake was deadlier because it was closer to the city and because more people were in the high-rise buildings.
According to the New York Times of February 24, 2011: “The bodies of at least 113 people, including two infants, have been recovered from a number of heavily damaged buildings since the 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck central Christchurch in the early afternoon on Tuesday. Most of the victims have not yet been formally identified, but they were thought to include many of the 228 people still listed as missing, but feared dead.”
New Zealand is at the southwestern tip of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. The eastern part of the ring runs along the west coast of North America, Central America and South America. A friend was in Lima, Peru, during a devastating earthquake in that country in August 2007 that killed hundreds of people. His home in Peru at the time was in Ica, which took the brunt of the earthquake. When he was finally able to return to his home in Ica, he learned that a huge chunk of concrete had fallen on the pillow on his bed.
This photograph shows the damage to the Christchurch Cathedral on February 23, 2011. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell)
New Zealand is a beautiful country with magnificent scenery, including alpine-like mountain peaks that were created from the earthquakes and volcanic activity resulting when the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates clash. This process continues, which leads to the earthquakes that seem to shake off humans like ants from a giant’s shoulders. New Zealand’s Alps and other scenery can be seen in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
It’s hard to find a place on earth that isn’t vulnerable to some kind of impending doom, but some human settlements seem especially vulnerable. When we traveled the South Island of New Zealand in February 2009, guides always mentioned past and possible future earthquake activity. One guide said the country was overdue for a big earthquake, yet no one there seemed to be ready to flee the country to avoid the inevitable. As humans, we all have our fingers crossed and usually live in a state of denial.
My husband I recently visited another very seismically active area — the Big Island of Hawaii, which is still being created as lava slowly flows from Kīlauea. Since 1952, Kīlauea has erupted 34 times, and since January 1983 eruptive activity has been continuous along the east rift zone. According to the United States Geological Survey, Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and may even top the list. Within the last month, lava flows reached a house and barn, destroying them. The island is also vulnerable to tsunamis from earthquakes elsewhere and has been hit hard a few times in the past hundred years. I’ll post my volcano and lava photographs in another post. We in the U.S. Midwest aren’t immune. One of the biggest recorded earthquakes in our country was in the St. Louis area. A link to my post about that is below, called “What a Relief!”
Here are performers in Cathedral Square at the World Buskers Festival in Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2009. The 2011 Festival concluded on January 30 this year. The festival is held every year in cathedral square. With so much earthquake damage in this area, what will happen to the 2012 festival?
In February 2009, the annual World Buskers Festival was held in the square in front of the ChristChurch Cathedral. The area around Cathedral Square, which is the heart of the city, suffered a great deal of damage during the February 2011 earthquake.
The Christchurch Art Gallery in February 2009. I don't know whether it survived the February 2011, but it was very close to the area of great damage.
Christchurch, New Zealand, looks like an English town with its architecture and lovely parks full of flower beds.
A tourist tram makes the rounds in Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2009.
This bride laughs as she stops her wind-blown veil with her foot. She's on her way to a park in Christchurch to get her photograph taken.
People wait in line to attend a performation at the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2009.
Christchurch, New Zealand, is known as the Garden City. This flower bed in a park not far from Cathedral Square shows why.
This amazing movie of a San Francisco streetcar traveling down Market Street was filmed four days before the massive April 18, 1906 earthquake, then shipped by train to New York for processing. It’s a trip back in time to the chaotic streets of early-day San Francisco, where horse-drawn wagons shared the road with streetcars, men on horseback and pedestrians. A sightseeing streetcar passes through the scene. Newsboys cruise the streets, some seeming to pose briefly for the camera. Other boys grab onto the back of a car and run along. The crowd is mostly male, everyone wears a hat and most are well-dressed.
The area shown in the film was destroyed by the big earthquake and fire that followed. In the film, the clock tower at the end of the street at the Embarcadero Wharf still stands. The film originally was thought to have been made in 1905. David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when the film was shot. Clues he used were the New York trade papers, wet streets from recent heavy rainfall, shadows indicating time of year, the weather and conditions on historical record. He even determined when the cars were registered and who owned them.
San Francisco is the favorite city of my mother-in-law and daughter. My husband went to kindergarten on the Presidio within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, but he doesn’t have the same romantic attachment to the city as other family members do. He did alert me to this video, though! He prefers the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, which is also earthquake-prone.