Friday morning, a massive earthquake hit Japan and spawned a massive tsunami that is sweeping across the Pacific, requiring evacuation along the Hawaiian coast. This morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an alert that “tsunami warnings and watches have been issued for the U.S. territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, as well as portions of coastal areas in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.”

Damage and loss of life in Japan will be significant. We have to be concerned as well about the safety of communities here that might be affected.
These tragic events and the race in the days to come to limit suffering and privation are a reminder that catastrophes most often happen without warning. Catastrophes are usually come-as-you-are disasters.

Even as responders now race to deal with disaster, it is not too soon to think ahead to how we’ll deal with the next catastrophes that will inevitably come.

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