Quake Could Have Been More Devastating

The tsunami devastated the coast of Japan. Buildings swayed in Tokyo, but none fell, thanks to preventative measures in the form of building codes enforced by –ready for it?– government regulation.

Got that, GOP? Government regulation.

Japan’s already stringent building codes were improved after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, which killed 6,400 people.

Medium and high-rise structures are designed to “dampen the vibrations of earthquakes,” says Andre Filiatrault, a civil engineering and earthquake specialist at the University of Buffalo. …

One district alone, Shizuoka, spent more than $4 billion making hospitals, schools and social welfare facilities earthquake resistant. It spent billions more to build evacuation routes, and to protect against tsunamis and landslides.

Thousands of lives likely spared by Japanese preparation – thestar.com

See Update the Third, below.

I was reminded, when I read this, of Paul Krugman’s column on 10 March.

Spending money on prevention was no more than a “slush fund.” Research on innovation was “an oxymoron.” And there was no reason to pay for “so-called effectiveness research.”


Surely the GOP could not be so shortsighted when it comes to preparing for disaster, right?


Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a new budget (HR 1) for the remainder of the fiscal year that would slash funding of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by $454 million. This would mean a draconian 28% cut for the National Weather Service, the agency entrusted to protect us from natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground


Did the GOP budget cuts target tsunami warning centers?

Why yes, reports Suzy Khimm, to the tune of $27 million less for USGS.

What Would Happen if an 8.9 Quake Hit the US? | Mother Jones

Update the Second: Crooks and Liars kept this meme in motion as well:

Republicans firmly believe that nothing is important enough to trump a possible tax cut. That’s why they oppose the adequate funding of the U.S. Weather Service — and not incidentally, itstsunami warning system.

Republicans also don’t believe in funding FEMA. They don’t believe in infrastructure investment or maintenance. They don’t believe Amtrak passengers deserve safe trains, or safe tracks. They don’t believe in updating the nation’s air traffic control system, and they don’t believe in spending money to get clean air and water. They don’t believe in spending on safe workplaces, either.

Republican Disaster Motto: Never Prepared!

Update the Third: This article has a video showing skyscrapers swaying in Tokyo. Not one building collapsed.

Half a day after Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake/tsunami combo, it’s clear that the country can be thankful for its preparedness, especially when it comes to strict building codes and advanced structural engineering.

The … video, filmed and uploaded today by someone from a Tokyo-based software firm called Dokizono, shows high-rise buildings swaying in the city’s Shinjuku ward. Swaying may seem scary, especially if you’re in the building in one of the higher floors, but flexibility alleviates the shock, and is in fact intentional.

Technolog – Early hero of Japan’s quake tragedy: Building codes



This entry was posted in Disasters, Earth Science, Economics, Engineering, Science, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quake Could Have Been More Devastating

  1. Pingback: Memo to Oregon & Washington re Tsunami: Get Ready | Notes from The Pondonome

  2. Pingback: Tom Toles Nails It — As Usual | Notes from The Pondonome

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