The earthquake that struck Japan last March 11, 2011 was as massive as quakes could get, triggering tsunami waves of up to 10 meters high to wash over the already-devastated country.
The damage is still very much felt and seen today. Many areas in Japan are still isolated, with roads and other fallen infrastructure blocking the way of rescue and volunteer groups bringing aid to the people.
Japan is one of the world's most earthquake prone countries but they are also one of the best prepared. At an early age, children are taught the basic drills and procedures to follow when an earthquake hits. The Japanese Building Laws have been continuously modified over the years to integrate science into the construction of their buildings so the structures would sway with the quake rather than resist it. While these structures withstood the earthquake, wood and concrete were no match for the waves of the tsunami.
The number one course of action that everyone should take is to educate themselves accordingly and know as much as possible about what to do before and when these disasters strike. You can pick up some literature about it or look up the information on the net. Another good way to do this is through the Stop Disasters! game developed jointly by the United Nations (UN) and by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
Stop Disasters! is a flash-based game that puts you in charge of preparing a certain city or area against specific natural disasters. There are five different crises you can choose to work with: floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wild fires. Each of these scenarios are located in a specific part of the world where the disaster is most likely to occur.
The main premise of the game is simple: fortify the buildings, make all the necessary repairs, and build community and relief centers so you can better protect your people and safeguard their lives.
Once you launch Stop Disasters!, you will be working with a tiled map of your area. Clicking on each tile will bring up information and upgrade options about that tile which will detail additional actions that you can take. As you do so, key facts about the activity as well as the impending disaster will pop up to provide you with much-needed information as you continue working against the clock.
The top bar will show you an overview of the scenario as well as compile the key facts that you have already unlocked. Most of the situations will give you a time limit of 20-25 minutes to worn on making your changes within the budget allocated to you.
The Stop Disasters! site also features an information page that lists down a lot of resources that you can read and browse through to better educate yourself about these natural disasters. Playing Stop Disasters! with your children (or students, if you're an educator) will better equip them with knowledge in a fun and challenging way.