Response to tragedy shows best side of human nature

FLATTENED Devastation after the earthquake in Japan
FLATTENED Devastation after the earthquake in Japan
Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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There really aren’t any words that can describe the recent devastation in Japan. What can one say about the tragedy that has just befallen one of the world’s biggest and most influential superpowers?

My heart goes out to the Japanese. The sheer magnitude of destruction caused by an earthquake that lasted less than a minute, followed by the sort of tidal wave that most of us have only ever seen on the cinema screen, is hard to comprehend.

Like many, I’ve watched the pictures on the television news and found it very difficult to believe what I’ve been seeing.

Whole towns have been flattened and cars and boats have been thrown around like children’s toys. The raw power of nature has been truly frightening.

Living in the West has its drawbacks. I was born in Australia and spent my younger days playing in the heat.

So to come to good ol’ Blighty where a temperature of 14 degrees is celebrated (as it was on Tuesday) it’s hard to not long for the laid-back outdoor lifestyle of that part of the world.

But when you hear about the natural disasters that have occurred recently in New Zealand and Japan, I have to say I’m glad to live in the UK.

The only good thing that can ever come out of awful situations like that in Japan is the way we as human beings come together.

In times of crisis, we forget our differences. It no longer matters where we come from and what our beliefs are.

I am humbled by the relief efforts that have been taking place. People have been putting their own lives on hold, their own lives at risk, to help others – others who they have never met before yet are determined to assist in any way they can out of human kindness.

Four firefighters and a specialist search and rescue dog handler from Hampshire have flown out to join the UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) team.

I feel extremely proud that a team from our county have gone to be part of the mission that is ongoing at the moment – and no doubt will continue for weeks, months, even years to come.

And I’m also proud that the UK-ISAR team is being co-ordinated from the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service HQ at Eastleigh.