Ich hatte zwar schon zwei vorige kurze Artikel verfasst, aber mich jetzt nochmal rangesetzt und eine Zusammenfassung geschrieben die etwas detaillierter ist. Diese kann, inklusive Bildern, hier eingesehen werden. Abgesehen davon, ist heute mein letzter wwoofing Tag, sofern das Kurokawa Onsen, mangels Gästen nicht die nächste Zeit dicht macht und ich erstmal keinen Job habe. Deshalb wird die Zusammenfassung dazu in den nächsten Tagen folgen. Die Erdbeben kamen leider dazwischen und haben eine höhere Priorität bekommen, als mein wwoofing Alltag^^.
Since three days the daily life of the inhabitants of Kumamoto-City, Aso-City and well, the whole of Kyushu, is determined by severe earthquakes.
It started during the night of April 14th at 9:26 pm and lasted ever since. At the moment of happning I was outside to enjoy the beautiful and calm starry night as the wooden houses began to make noises as if wood was shoved against itself. Shortly after I felt the quake as if there were waves underground. It took about 6 seconds until it was quite again – for now. This was my first earthquake on Japanese ground although they would be considered quite infrequent at Kyushu. The reason lies in the actual tectonic situation, Kyushu is not bordering directly at a plate border, as Honshu is.
During the night, several more earthquakes shook up the Island and especially Kumamoto-City where it originated slightly NW of the City. The Magnitude was listed with 7, though USGS claims it to be 6.2 (7.0 for the 17th of April). However, was it quite a huge happening, which demolished some houses, roads and walls around the castle of Kumamoto, and even pulled down the tiles on top of the Castle-roofs. At this point one could say that they had luck, but it didn’t end with that.
During the next day, my Host and I drove to Kumamoto to see his family. We learned that they do not have flowing water, hence the military skipped in and helped where they could, provided food (most of the Conbinis and Restaurants were closed, due to aftershocks) and water in big tanks. We took his family along to the Onsen were they would stay for the time being. Compared to Kumamoto we had no destruction to be declared, though we felt all of the shocks nevertheless. As time went by, a second major happening occurred, NE of Kumamoto, along a fault line. This event was about the same strength as the previous one and brought several aftershocks along, in about the same vicinity of Magnitude.
All in all, Water and Electricity went off for Kumamoto and Aso City all the same. Some more Earthquakes appeared and even stroke Oita Prefecture (NE of Kumamoto Pref.) and Beppu as such. The respective Magnitudes were in between 5 and 6.
Today, at the 16th of April, my host and I went out to go to Aso City. At least 2 roads down the caldera were blocked by trees and/or landslides. Many roads broke too, especially at steep slopes. As we came down into the calderea many homes were slightly demolished and the roads too. Sometimes it seemed as if the earthquake cut out rectangular pieces of asphalt and shoved it like carpets into seams and piled ‘em up for about 30 cm. Along our way we made a round around the city and discovered some totally destructed houses and a temple. The military was present as well and in high demand to help the homeless. Despite the situation everyone was calm and relaxed. No signs of a panic or despair. Everyone did what they had to and the circumstances dictated. I was quite impressed, but that’s just the Japanese way of life =). Don’t let yourself get dragged down.
Especially around the NW side of the Caldera there were many houses in total destruction, which was quite impressive. I made some photographs of such (which are to be found with the link in the German Version above).
As we moved back to our home we discovered that Oguni (the next town) is unharmed and still be provided with water and electricity, though magnitude 5 stroke us here too. It is quite an experience and I cannot deny that I somehow enjoy it. It’s the first time for me to take part in an earthquake of this extent and see the destruction first hand. Up till then I only experienced one earthquake in Tajik four years ago. It was a single happening and we remained unharmed.
As for tonight, there is a heavy storm accompanied by strong rain expected. Many people are still without water and electricity. Should more earthquakes happen during then, it will be disastrous for these people. But as I know them, they also will survive this ordeal and become stronger as they go! Let’s pray for the best.