Thousands of people living in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, took part in an emergency earthquake drill on Wednesday (1 September).
Thousands of people living in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, took part in an emergency earthquake drill on Wednesday (1 September). The drill is and annual event and organised by the Tokyo Fire Department and Japan's Self Defence Forces.
SYNOPSIS: The drill was mainly concentrated in Kita Ward, a densely populated section on the northern edge of the city. In a full-scale rehearsal Ward residents were evacuated from their homes.
The evacuees were led to safety over a bailey bridge slung across the Ara River. Some people, appearing to be injured, were tended on the spot by medical staff and taken to the hospital. Scenes like this would be commonplace in the event of a real quake. As Tokyo's population watched the drill on their TV screens they were reminded of the major earthquake that hit Tokyo on the first of September 1923.
The Japanese can simulate almost perfectly a disaster situation. Water shortages always occur after an earthquake so water rations are distributed immediately.
At Wednesday's drill, Tokyo's Mayor Ryokichi Minabe, and fire department officials were on hand. The 1923 quake hit Tokyo with a force of 7.9 on the Richter scale and killed 140,000 people. Officials say that if this should happen again even more deaths could be expected. The fire department estimates that 33,000 fires could be expected to break out.
As insurance the department is always prepared and in the rehearsal user 122 fire engines and support vehicles and 4 helicopters. Fires were lit and fought, and the latest fire prevention and rescue techniques were demonstrated. While this was going on, similar drills were being held in 23 other sections of Tokyo.
Every year more than 1,000 earth tremors are detected throughout Japan. Little can be done to prevent a quake or predict when it will hit. But if one does Tokyo's 11 million inhabitants should know what to do.