Report from Tohoku area

A friend through the North Face brand here in Japan has put up a great report from his trip to the Tohoku area to deliver relief supplies. I have posted a small section here on my blog, but please visit his to read the rest and see the pictures. Thanks Toru for making this report, it is so important to share what is really going on in the Tohoku area. The TV news has failed horribly in keeping up the coverage so we rely more and more on these first hand accounts. The part where he talks about small children unable to play outside because of high radiation levels is heartbreaking.

Full post here.

7Nature Usagi Report

My impression about this trip

Relief goods in the evacuation centers seemed to be enough for the people living there. However, for those who have moved into the temporary housing and those who manage to live in their partially destroyed houses, the supplies including food, daily necessities are in shortage. People love the land where they were born and had spent most of their lives. I felt it would be difficult for us strangers to convince them to leave and go live in somewhere else.

Now people in Japan and in the whole world are focusing on Fukushima, but not the victims of tsunami and earthquake. This worries the victims a lot that the support for them may only for the beginning and won’t be carried on in the future.

Also there are a lot of children there who have closed their hearts to others because of the lost of their friends and parents.

I think that psychological care for children is a very important issue in the future.

Temporary housing is like an apartment room, where a college student would live, with refrigerator, air condition, washing machine, TV, etc. Actually it’s not as bad as I had thought.

However, once people move to the temporary housing, they will get 20 kg of rice as the last support and lose all the ongoing support including the supply of food and daily necessities. For this reason, a lot people who have lost their income sources have to give up the temporary housing and remain in the evacuation center.

After moving to the temporary housing, if they can get some minimum allowance every month until they find jobs and get everything back to track, the problem will be eased. All the provinces including cities and prefectures have their own fund for emergency use. I think it is imperative to pass the fund as allowance to people who move to the temporary housing.

I also strongly felt that individual care is needed because everyone we met had different difficulties.

Fukushima was filled with heavy atmosphere, which was something different with tsunami and earthquake.

We visited a kindergarten here.

The principal was having a headache about the situation. “The radiation dose inside is quite high but still in the safe limit, but when we move the Geiger counter to the outside playground, puddle under the slides, wet places, and plants, the alarm will go off immediately with a reading higher than 3.0uSv/h.”

Because it’s the third month since the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred, children here don’t wear masks anymore.

The city of Fukushima is taking measures to reduce the radiation by removing top soil from the playgrounds in schools and kindergartens. Meanwhile, radiation keeps leaking from reactors, it looks to me that they are doing a vicious circle.

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