The following link is a great overall news article about the Earthquake in Japan and all the following catastrophes. The words that are missing from all the articles that I have read over the last several days are “Looting”, “Panic” and “Violence”.
Here is a partial definition of the word “Looting” from Wikipedia.com
Looting (Hindi lūṭ, akin to Sanskrit luṭhati, [he] steals; also Latin latro, latronis [Sp. ladrón], “thief”)—also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe or riot…
“During a catastrophe” would certainly indicate that this is a common or even expected occurrence. Let’s ponder some recent natural disasters across the globe:
Christchurch, New Zealand – 02.22.2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – 01.12.2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake
New Orléans, Louisiana, United States – 08.29.2005, Category 3 Hurricane ‘Katrina’
The list of disasters and accompanying news articles is endless. Except in Japan. I am amazed at the strength, calm and organization of the people in Japan. This includes not only the Japanese, but all the foreigners living in and visiting Japan. It has not really been a surprise to anyone that there has not been a rise in crime, a state of panic or finger-pointing.
As we have all heard, Japan is a country that is regularly hit with strong earthquakes. The people grow up learning what to do, where to go, how to prepare and especially how to stay calm. If you have watched any of the videos, you can see that as soon as the earthquake starts, almost everyone crouches down to avoid falling. Missing from the videos is screaming and panic. If locals residents do not panic, it sets a great example for those not accustomed to constant shaking. People in airports remained calm and followed the lead of others.
In Tokyo, all train service stopped. Thousands of people were stranded in the city. One report said that all the bicycle shops had sold out of all bicycles. Sold Out, not been mobbed and had them all stolen. People with cars were offering rides to strangers. Residents of Tokyo opened their homes to coworkers, friends and strangers. The government and companies passed out supplies to people stranded. Cars stuck in long lines of traffic that moved at only a few feet an hour at times, were not honking and yelling. There are many photos from the hard hit area of Sendai showing people politely queuing up to enter the grocery stores, in turn, to get supplies. Finally, if the earthquake and tsunamis were not enough damage, they are now experiencing meltdowns at the nuclear power plants. Still no panic.
I think we , as a global community, have a lot to learn from this disaster. We need to learn to BE a community.