In the punishing aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week, our thoughts continue to be with the thousands of people who've been displaced, injured or killed by the magnitude 9.0 quake.
Portland and its adjoining communities have many affiliations with Japan, including former residents who live in Japan, current residents who have relatives there and sister-city relationships involving Portland, Gresham and Beaverton. With so many connections - and the Oregon Coast itself being struck by tsunami waves - this particular earthquake doesn't seem like a faraway event.
The quake is of significant interest for another reason, too: It was a subduction zone quake, similar to the type of earthquake that could occur off the Oregon Coast. Subduction zone quakes are among the largest potential disasters on Earth. Knowing this, Oregonians should support government requirements that buildings, bridges and other facilities be constructed - or in many cases, updated - to be safer during earthquakes.
Oregon residents also should take personal responsibility for having emergency supplies in their homes and for understanding what they should do during an earthquake. (The Oregon Red Cross has extensive advice on this topic, and you can find it online at www.oregonredcross.org.)
In the aftermath of watching the horror in Japan, we should do three things: offer thoughts and prayers for those harmed by the disaster; begin our own safety preparations close to home; and donate what we are able to relief organizations that are helping the people of Japan.