March 11th, 2011
In the first few days of March 2011, I was reminded about my own home country Pakistan’s recent misfortunes when northeastern Japan was rocked by a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, killing hundreds and injuring thousands, setting off a Tsunami, dislodging infrastructure and leaving two nuclear reactors dangerously close to meltdown. Since the major earthquake on 5th March, a series of temblors and around 125 aftershocks were felt within the next week, causing further damage to life and property. The tragedy does not stop here as the shores are sweeping hundreds of dead bodies along the coastline every day as the nation sits still in the fear of a nuclear meltdown. This has caused Japan to declare its first-ever states of emergency for five nuclear reactor at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability.
While this tragedy is taking place at the other end of the world, I can feel the pain sitting here in the U.S, as I myself have been through this situation before. Being a resident of Pakistan, we have experienced several natural disasters such as earthquakes and massive floods, destroying the already crippled country’s infrastructure amidst the threat of terrorism. I can imagine the level of disruption this can cause not only in the public mindset, the expectations from the government but also the economy of the country and its place in the world wide arena. At least, Japan is fortunate enough to not be infested with a religious intolerance and extremism issue. In the 2010 floods in Pakistan, where the level of damage caused was greater than the 2005 Tsunami, 2005 Pakistan Earthquake and the recent Haiti earthquake all put together, the country received very little attention from the international donors simply because no one wanted to send money overseas to a country which was known to harbor terrorists. In one way this caution is good but it has also set back an already underdeveloped nation from re-stabilizing itself. Although Japan has suffered a massive tragedy, it is safe to predict that it will be able to pick up the pieces and successfully build the infrastructure once again since it is not subject to the disease of religious extremism.