This is no laughing matter.
When a major earthquake strikes, rescuers come, and then relief operations begin.
The problem is that people who provide aid usually bring water and food, and then clothing and shelter, for survivors. Seldom do they think of toilet paper, which is a basic provision in our daily lives.
This matter was brought up by Japan’s trade and industry ministry on Monday as the country observed the national disaster prevention day.
Government officials urged Japanese households to stock up on toilet paper because 41 percent of the nation’s supply comes from Shizhuoka in central Japan, which is a high-risk earthquake zone, the Associated Press reported.
Toshiyuki Hashimoto, a ministry official in charge of paper products, warned of a nationwide toilet paper shortage that could last for a month if the area is hit by an earthquake of about same magnitude as the one that occurred in March 2011. The mega-quake killed about 19,000 people in the tsunami-hit northern coast.
When toilet paper is not available, one could always improvise. There’s tissue paper (or when worst comes to worst, goodbye, socks), but using materials that are not water-soluble could clog up toilets, and a more terrible scenario looms.
Japanese take disaster preparedness seriously, so if a minor run on toilet paper occurs in some grocery stores in the country, one should not be alarmed. They are just taking Hashimoto’s warning to heart.
Hundreds of thousands of Japanese take part in the disaster preparedness drill every Sept. 1, the anniversary of the 1923 earthquake in Tokyo that killed more than 140,000 people, the report said.
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