The huge earthquake and resulting deadly tsunami off the coast of Japan last Friday has broad ramifications for all of us. On a basic human level the tragedy is heart-rending and life-altering; no words can adequately address the grief and loss as the number of dead or missing continues to rise. Millions of survivors are impacted by lack of water, fuel, electricity, or adequate food, and the homeless number in the hundreds of thousands. Recovery is further complicated by the intense uncertainty regarding potential nuclear contamination from the damaged power plant at Fukushima.
Human tragedy is always stunning. Worldwide awareness of this event has been magnified by the instantaneous nature of news, horrific images of the tsunami and the aftermath, and the proliferation of internet communication. One factor that is different from somewhat similar events of the near past (such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami off Sumatra) is the fact that Japan is highly industrialized, has the world’s third largest economy, and is intricately involved in the supply chains for a host of major manufacturers around the world. This is testament to how globally interdependent we have all become whether we like it or not. For more specific commentary on potential parts shortages see this BBC article, and follow Thom Hogan’s comments here. As you do so, please keep an open mind and remember there are huge numbers of people in Japan grappling with survival and dealing with immense disruptions in essential infrastructure as they struggle to put some sense of order back into their lives. Help if you can; keep them in your prayers.