I’m lying in bed watching a documentary about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan 5 years ago and it’s being shown using amateur videos shot by people caught up in the events. It makes for pretty harrowing watching.
I often hear people say they can remember where they were when Michael Jackson died or when something big happened and I never had that. But I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the earthquake. I was in London, on a school trip with the law department and we had just walked into the Houses of Parliament. There were a couple of televisions in the wall and all 40 students stopped and watched the pictures on the news.
I can remember the exact pictures too. One was a video of a huge ship being pushed under a bridge. The other was a video of a big open floodplain, and seeing the water rush through this valley.
I can remember how disturbed we all were at the time and the first thing we did in our room the following morning was wake up and put the TV on to find out what was happening.
Now, watching the images again, it puts everything into perspective. We, myself included, take far too much for granted. We’re lucky that we don’t have these kind of events in the UK. Sure we have floods or high winds but nothing on this scale. We might have a few deaths during one severe storm with flooding but in Japan approximately 16,000 people died in 24 hours. Whole towns were wiped out and even the refuge building designated for providing shelter in such situations were torn apart. I just watched one bit now where a school gym was used as a shelter point and had been for 50 years. This time the water was too high and 70 people died in the building they were supposed to be safe in.
I could go on for hours. I would like to think I’ve stopped taking things for granted but I will be reminding myself every day that actually, we have it pretty fucking good in this country.