Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Two years ago....

Hello folks,
as many may be aware, yesterday marked the 2 year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, the tsunami that followed and then the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Crisis.

Here is a little information via BBC, because I was not here when it happened.

BBC - Japan Marks Quake and Tsunami Anniversary

BUT I am here now, in a region devastated March 11th, 2011. I read a friends recollections/diary yesterday and I wondered how I would have coped if I had been here that day. The only conclusion I could reach was that I would be a gibbering mess.
In December last year there was a pretty decent quake, 7.3. I turned off the iron, the gas stove and ran to the bathroom. A few things fell to the ground. We have a shake now and then, in the last month it's been rather quiet - which make me rather nervous. Last year for the most part we have a tremour every one to two days. In some way that was reassuring because it felt like the Earth was letting out its anger little by little. If it holds it inside for longer though...

Here in Ichinoseki, away from the coast, the damage was done by the quake. There was no power for two weeks, and I am told manhole covers popped out of the ground, the building opposite my apartment block was severely damaged, and still stands unoccupied today as a reminded. A marriage hall in town was also severely damaged and is no longer in use.

Water was a huge issue after March 11th 2011. People couldn't flush their toilets. Many stuck it out in shelters. I know someone who lost their home and didn't know for a while if their family was alive. Everyone here who survived had a similar worry over friends or loved ones. And here I sit, I came over to live here just under a year ago. For me, it's hard and terrifying to imagine.
Those who survived went through so much, and rebuilding their lives must at times be very difficult, and very brave indeed.

Then we have the Fukushima situation, still a situation today. I hear varying reports about the dangers. Last year one of my schools had a think layer of top soil removed because of radiation. And Ichinoseki is a fair way from Fukushima. From near as I can understand, there is a lot of danger still at the plant, and another massive earthquake could have dire consequences. Few people realise, it seems, that there was a full-on nuclear meltdown there.
A couple of articles:

Ravages of Fukshima Nuclear Disaster will never end (The Age)

Pictures from the affected area (from The Guardian)

But still life goes on. People rebuild buildings and lives with incredible courage and determination. That's the human race for you.

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