Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."


Mega Disasters

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Listen: Behind This Week’s Column:

The principal lessons Americans should learn from the Japan earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster is that no country, no matter how large, prosperous, or technologically sophisticated, is safe from disasters that overwhelm government rescue, relief, and recovery resources; and that life or death may depend on how practically and psychologically we prepare for them.

Knowing there is only so much government can do to prepare for and protect us from the unpredictable, and because mega-disasters are relatively rare, Americans generally don’t prepare for them, especially if we don’t live along hurricane prone coasts or in tornado alley. Now, however, might be a good time to start.  (More)

Note: I updated my column and my audio blog to revise the U.S. Death toll from 43,000 to 70,000, still the total is small by comparison.


Filed under: National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Kslily says:

    You are right to encourage us to be prepared. It would be good for every family to at least have a discussion as to what their plan of action would be if something happened. One always thinks they will never be affected.
    Our hearts go out to the Japanese people. They show great patience in an unimaginable situation.

  2. EWRoss says:

    Susan, your mom and dad are who I had in mind when I wrote about storing food in the basement. They lived through the rough years in the 1930s and 1940s and understood what self reliance was all about. I’m afraid that too many Americans who have come after then have forgotten.

  3. coolooc says:

    Diaoyu Islands have been a part of China since the Ming Dynasty, US Congressman David Wu remarked in a statement yesterday at the Georgetown University.

    “Historically and geographically the Diaoyu Islands have been a part of China since the Ming Dynasty. Japanese sources have acknowledged Chinese ownership since the late 1700s,” said Wu.

    Japan only laid claim to the islands after its war with China in 1895, Wu added.

    In 1945 Japan agreed to accept the Potsdam Proclamation. And according to the proclamation, Japan should return to China/Taiwan and Diaoyu Islands it had illegally seized from China. Japan returned Taiwan to China but refused to return Diaoyu Islands to China.

    And in 1951 Japan unilaterally signed the San Francisco Treaty with the US, which enabled the US to exercise the so-called “administrative rights” over the Diaoyu Islands. But this illegal treaty has never been accepted by the Chinese government.

    The US committed an error by letting Japan to manage the islands instead of returning the islands to China. This is an error made by the US that needs to be corrected, Wu said.

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