Earthquakes Galore

indexThose living in the vicinity of the Ring of Fire are well acquainted with earth tremors. Japan is quake-prone. Hence most Japanese are not extremely perturbed by the incessant, but usually small tremors, until the big one hits. The most recent being Fukushima and the Great Kobe quake that shook Japan 20 years ago.  Fukushima would not have been that destructive if not for the gigantic tsunami in the aftermath. Those living in traditionally non-quake areas are generally more complacent when it comes to the destructive powers of earthquakes. Quake education is non-existent and buildings are normally built without engineering for quakes. Is this complacency a recipe for quake induced disasters?

Natural disasters are beyond the will of man. No engineering feat can withstand the destructive powers of nature. At best, engineers can mitigate the impact of earthquakes. Taking cost into consideration, engineering has to balance cost against over engineering. Probability and statistical analysis fills in the gap where uncertainty reigns. How often will an anticipated natural calamity likely to occur? Will it be an annual event or one that occurs once in a hundred years? There is no certain answer, nothing more than a calculated bet.

When a relatively large earthquake of magnitude 6.0 hit Malaysia’s highest peak Mount Kinabalu in Sabah on 5 June 2015, people were taken by surprise. Statistically, that event is considered rare. In short, nobody expected it. Fortunately, the area is not densely populated. As of 9 June, 16 people perished in the quake, with 2 Singaporeans still missing. The casualties are from 5 nationalities. Most of the dead are young 12 year-old school kids from Singapore on a climbing trip to the mountain. If not for those climbers, there may not any fatalities in this quake.

The world is experiencing a bout of unprecedented earthquakes and volcanic activities in recent days (read “The Earth is Awakening”). Nowhere in the world is immune from earthquakes. That is a statistical certainty. The only uncertainty is the frequency and magnitude of tremors. Anyone who believes that “it won’t happen to me” is delusional and arrogant. Precautionary actions are best prevention for trauma for unpredictable events. Be prepared in these days of high uncertainties and absolute reliance on technology for survival. When it hits, it is too late to get ready.

Matthew 25:13
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.


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