Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents News
Ring of Fire earthquakes hit
Japan, New Zealand
The massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake
that hit the Pacific Ocean off the north-
east of Japan on Friday 11 March, creating
a devastating tsunami, has caused a soar-
ing death toll on Japan's north-east coast.
According to the United States Geological
Survey, the earthquake was the biggest to
strike Japan and the seventh biggest ever.
The devastation was compounded by fires
and explosions in the earthquake damaged
number-four reactor at the Fukushima
No.1 plant, 250 kilometres northeast of
An estimated 550,000 people have been
displaced; according to Save the Children
an estimated 100,000 of them are children.
The earthquake and tsunami struck in
mid-afternoon when students were still in
EARTHQUAKES IN THE SO-CALLED RING OF FIRE AROUND THE PACIFIC
OCEAN HAVE CAUSED DEVASTATION IN JAPAN AND NEW ZEALAND.
STEVE HOLDEN REPORTS.
school. Stephen McDonald, the man lead-
ing Save the Children's team in Japan, said
he expected to find many children who have
been separated from their families.
School building standards and safety
procedures in Japanese schools meant many
students and staff were safe from the earth-
quake, but not the ensuing tsunami that
swept inland for 10 kilometres, destroying
property and killing many people.
Aerial footage in the wake of the tsu-
nami showed military helicopters lifting
su rvivors from rooftops and partially
submerged buildings. Sur vivors painted a
large white SOS and a helicopter landing
symbol in the grounds of Shizugawa High
School in Minamisanriku, Miyagi, north-
Students and teachers at the Sydney Jap-
anese School observed a minute's silence on
the Monday after the disaster. In a state-
ment posted on the school's website, Deputy
Principal Allan Meadows said, 'Our school
community is directly affected, with many
teachers, families and friends past and pre-
sent coming from the devastated regions of
eastern Japan. We are extremely anxious
about our friends' safety.'
In New Zealand, meanwhile, many
schools reopened in March after a 6.3-mag-
nitude earthquake devastated the Christ-
church region on 22 February.
Of 163 primary and secondary schools
affected by the earthquake, 90 were able to
reopen in February, while 24 had reports
indicating fu rther assessment for struc-
tural damage was required. A further 11
seriously damaged schools remained closed.
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