Thoughts on Tsunami Videos

Apr 21, 2011 by

Today I went to YouTube and searched for Tsunami Videos. After watching a few hours of footage, I jotted down the following reflections to share, in no particular order.

  • There is NO chance of surviving in the water – too many other debris.
  • Don’t be one of those cars trying to drive away at the last moment. But if you are, DRIVE FASTER!
  • Cars are like playthings – they just get batted about and smooshed. Don’t be in one.
  • Even a few inches under the wheels of your vehicle can sweep you away. Drive faster, and barrel through anything in your way, or you won’t make it.
  • If you’re on the ground running from the water… for heaven’s sake, leave your suitcases behind and just RUN!  I saw too many people pulling suitcases over fences and going back for items they had dropped. And I watched some of them get sucked into the water and not come back up.  Just run. Not speed walk, RUN!
  • The Japanese Tsunami from March 2011The Japanese Tsunami was 67 feet high in places. You don’t just need a really tall building – you need a really, spectacularly strong building that can withstand that kind of pressure and force.
  • If you’re on a roof, beware of power lines near you. They’ll snap, and could carry you into the water, where you’ll die.
  • If you’re on the roof and think you are safe, watch how fast and how high the water level rises. Can you get higher still?
  • Tsunamis can come in waves – the water will get higher, and higher still. Don’t think you’re safe, and don’t go back down to the water level, especially to film. Those folks’ videos didn’t make it to the Internet. Don’t linger or go slower, just so you can get sensational footage for the news. If you die, your camera dies with you.
  • Say you survive… what did you bring on the roof with you?  You and your neighbors or co-workers might be stuck up there for quite some time. Keep a BOG nearby, and remember to take it with you as you run.
  • After the tsunami comes the fire.  Fire leaps from wreckage to other wreckage…
  • If you get a warning, leave early – as soon as you can grab your Bug Out Bag and go. And get as far and as high as you can. If you can’t go far, at least go high. Pick the biggest, baddest most sturdy looking building you can find, and get to the roof.  Apartment buildings aren’t high enough.
  • It snowed during the Japanese tsunami. Just… think about that.  If you got wet, it’s snowing. Can you make a fire, safely, on a roof?
  • If the tsunami is a result of an earthquake, remember that there will continue to be aftershocks during a tsunami. And after. And while you are on a structurally weakened building.  It’s been over a month, and Japan is still getting aftershocks daily, 6+ ones.

And a side note observation about the videos themselves. They’ve been edited since the tsunami. I distinctly recall watching cars with people in them get swept away – all that footage is gone. The footage of some of the most heart-wrenching moments of people running up a hill to escape the water – edited. You don’t know if they make it or not (I Googled – some did, some didn’t). It was all caught on tape, but it’s all been edited within the last few weeks to remove any direct, clear and observable death.  I think this is a disservice to those who died.  I feel for them – I feel their plight, their fear, their terror, their horrible realization that they’re not going to make it. But their deaths shouldn’t be hidden away – we’re KNOW this was a tragedy – we’re not trying to pretend that tsunamis don’t kill people or that everything goes back to normal the next day. Why hide this?  It bothers me.  I feel like I should respect those people enough to be with them to the end, and I can’t be because that footage has been edited and removed (after the fact) because someone decided it wasn’t “in good taste”.

Tsunamis are scary.  We live in Florida. Florida is very, very, very flat.  There’s no highrises to go to near us – there’s a slight lump of a landfill, but that’s about it.  Solution? Move out of Florida.

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  1. Harmony

    I saw the videos too. They are facinating! And you are right, they have been edited since the tsunami. But you can still find them if you look hard enough. But they don’t seem to be on youtube anymore.

  2. BittenKitten

    Good points Sandy. Just run and get high. No dilly dalleying. The waves come SO fast. I hope to God I never see a tsunami in person.

  3. Theses are really great points. I too live in Florida, and because my wife is Japanese as still has family back in Japan, we were particularly horrified with all the news.

    One thought worth considering. In the unlikely event of a tsunami off the coast of Florida, if you don’t have any high-rise buildings or hills, the second best thing is to head inland as far as you can get.

    In South West Florida (where we also live) that would mean taking county roads directly East. I’ve started to drive a few of these roads to get an idea of the terrain and locate possible elevated locations along the road where we could “bail out” if need be.

  4. Mona

    So awful. I just feel so strongly for the Japanese people. It’s like it never happened already. We’ve all moved on??

  5. Destie

    Let’s not forget the Japanese this Christmas. They still need our help. Here’s a link to Charity Watch on how to help:

  6. Anonymous

    See this new video on the tsunami:

    It starts out with a group of people on a low roof, maybe 5-6 stories high, and the water just trickling in the streets. And just a minute later, it’s a flood. And a minute after that, they are scrambling to get higher up the roof as they realize the water is probably going to get up as high as the roof they were just standing on. It happens so fast. Always get higher; don’t wait down below to get good YouTube footage!

    Also, I don’t know how much warning they got, but there was no way to go back in and get your BOG. You either take it with you to the roof, or you don’t have it. The whole building must have been completely flooded.

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