Friday, March 18, 2011

JAPAN – Earthquake/tsunami of 3/11/11

It is hard to write something about this disaster because it is still happening. The devastation created by both has not even begun to be cleared or repaired and there is the additional disaster of the nuclear reactors which were damaged by the quake and the threat of their overheating with escaping radiation. I’m not going to try to go into all of that – it’s there on the web – facts and figures – as well as conflicting reports of dangerousness.

My son, his wife and oldest son live in Japan. At the time of the quake and tsunami, my son was in California for work and his wife alone in their apartment on the 25th floor of their building in Yokohama. Their son has an apartment in Tokyo but I don’t know what floor that is on. The quake could be felt even in Yokohama – the building is new and built to deal with the shaking but things flew off shelves and drawers opened:

25 floors up is pretty high – I’ve been told the elevator stops in a quake – that’s a long hike down or back up if it is ever necessary.

My son returned to his family the Monday after the quake and could not go to work until noon on Tuesday because of rolling blackouts and his office would not have power in the morning. He commented how the traffic lights were out and trying to cross the streets without them was very challenging – the drivers are not used to looking out for pedestrians, among some of the effects.

Meanwhile the news from the US made the risks of the reactors overheating and higher radiation getting out much higher than Japan seemed to see it. I watch and read of all this and wish I could just get all 3 of them out of Japan but I have no way to do that and just watching and waiting is so hard. As I write this, the workers are trying to get power to the reactors but it has not been done yet to know if once they have power the pumps for the cooling water will even work. Allegedly there is low level radiation in Tokyo but not deemed harmful or a health threat.

And all I can do right now is just keep hoping that that is true, that they will be okay, and especially hoping and praying the pumps will work, and the reactors can be cooled and all the thousands of people now homeless and who have lost everything, and especially lost loved ones can be helped in some way. And the men working with the reactors, I think something like 180 of them, they are heroes, for they are giving their lives to try and stop the process taking place.

Meanwhile, there is still devastation in so many other places from other disasters, New Zealand, Pakistan, Chile, Haiti, even from hurricane Katrina which has not been not fully rebuilt or recovered from and others I haven't mentioned.

And I wonder – really wonder – how can people go on killing, having wars, hurting each other – what is so damaged and not okay inside of them that in a world with so many hurting and suffering, they can add to the pain?

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