Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan: Earthquake, Tsunami, Burning Reactors, and Snow; a Little Help?

(Reuters, via Voice of America, used w/o permission)
"A rescue worker uses a two-way radio transceiver during heavy snowfall at a factory area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northern Japan, March 16, 2011"

That photo is from a Voice of America article:
Quite a few folks in Japan weren't killed in the earthquake and tsunami that hit their east coast last Friday, GMT starting at 2.46 p.m. March 11, 2011 (5:46 a.m. March 11, 2011, UTC) That's good news: particularly for them and their families.

Life in quake-hit Ofunato: A woman walks by her destroyed home amid snowfall in the quake-hit city of Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 16, 2011. The area was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)The bad news is that many folks who managed to avoid being trapped in rubble and/or drowned have the clothes they were wearing - inside - when the earthquake hit. Which, by itself, isn't much of a problem: except that's all some of them have now. That's a bit awkward, since the temperature's been getting below freezing in that part of Japan, and it's been snowing.

Still, they can't be all that badly off. All they have to do is go to the nearest 7-Eleven®, pick up the Japanese equivalent of a cheesburger and fries, and call someone to pick them up, right?

Midwinter weather in quake-hit area: People walk through snow-covered rubble in the tsunami-hit village of Noda, Iwate Prefecture, on March 16, 2011, as the temperature dropped to midwinter levels in northeastern Japan the same day. (Kyodo, used w/o permission) Actually, under normal circumstances that might work. There are a fair number of 7-Eleven® stores in Japan.

Except that these folks didn't necessarily get out of the building they were in with money or credit cards, the cell phone system is down, and - too often - so is the rest of the town.

Life at evacuation shelter: A girl warms herself near a fire at the entrance of an evacuation shelter in the quake-hit town of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 16, 2011. The area was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)Don't get me wrong: there are bright spots. For one thing, some of the fires in Japan are under control: and being used to keep kids warm.

There's still the matter of getting everybody into shelters, and feeding them once they're there. Japan has a fine transportation network, and normally getting food to where it's needed is routine.

Rescue and recovery efforts: Firefighters carry out a recovered body in the snow in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 16, 2011, following the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. (Kyodo, used w/o permission)Again, Japan is experiencing some unusual difficulties just now. I'm quite confident that they'll find the trains that went missing when the earthquake hit, get their railroad system in working order again, and repair or rebuild roads: which will make rebuilding towns and cities a lot easier.

Problem is, all that will take time: and there are people who need food now.

Disaster in Japan: Lots of Options

So far, I haven't run into anyone who believes there was no earthquake, and that what Japan is experiencing is some kind of a plot: but I wouldn't be surprised if I did. And that's another topic.

I have, though, run into some fairly interesting reactions to the earthquake, tsunami, flooding, fires, death, destruction, and (quite likely) melting nuclear reactors:
  1. God's punishing those Japanese
  2. Dead people and burning buildings? Now that's funny!
  3. Can't find relatives?
  4. What do you need?
  5. My prayers are with you
    • It can't hurt
    • And can help
      • In my opinion
Responses numbers one and two aren't, I think, all that helpful. Granted, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" put Jonathan Edwards on the map back in the 18th century - and that's yet another topic.

Number three, Google's 'people finder,' is, I think, a fine example of what folks can do with Information Age technology. And another reason why I don't wring my hands in anguish about improvements in communications and data processing. Which is yet again another topic.

Number four: That's what this post is about.

Number five may sound obscenely impractical, but I don't see it that way. I don't know how prayer works, but it does. I think a case-in-point is the account of the centurion's servant. (Matthew 8:5-13) Anyway, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.

Now, back to number four.

Prayer is Good: So is Charity

Maybe you don't want to help folks in Japan. That's your decision. They're not the only ones in the world right now who could use a hand: and giving anything is a matter of choice. Folks who do decide to help others by contributing to some charity should, I think: think. I did a micro-review of a pretty good advice article, in another blog:
It all boils down to 'don't be stupid.' Also, that it's generally better to give:
  • Money
  • To a charity you know is legitimate
I think Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis are okay, but what do I know? Please: do your own research.
Like I said, whether you give anything is up to you: and Japan isn't the only place in the world where people can use help. CRS and CI are both global outfits. One thing I like about the Catholic Church: There aren't many places in the world where we don't already have someone there.

Related posts:
In the news:
List of 'Japan earthquake disaster' posts in this and other blogs:


Brigid said...

The headline of the post is duplicated right under the caption of the first picture, with no space in between.

Ro? "normally getting food ro where it's needed is routine."

Sounds. Zounds. "Number five sounds may sound obscenely impractical"

Funny, I didn't know you had a German accent as portrayed in humorous works. "One think I like about the Catholic Church"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Glad to see you back: Yah. Hai haff got der deutscheraccent mitt der "think" think. Hvich ist odd, hass hai haff der Norskblutt in der veens.

Good grief, now sounding like a jagger I am.

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