“we, the japanese people, will overcome like we did before”… just the message that the people needed was broadcasted all over japan, prime time, but was almost ignored by non japanese media. we, as journalists, need to rethink our priorities. if the ‘end of the world’ was about to come three days ago why are we suddenly forgetting about ‘the non-end of the world’ to shift our attention elsewhere?
i have been holding that japan will overcome these difficult times and will be building a stronger nation, no matter what doomsayers are predicting. today’s NHK report from ishinomaki is to me the best example of the resiliance, stoicism and willingness to overcome adversity that japanese have shown us again and again. in one of the shelters, people have decided to organize themselves. they have taken small but effective measures. they do chores as a team and they pay special attention to kids. they are getting the largest amount of food. some other get just 2 onigiri a day! despite all the tough situations that they seem to be enduring, life is to be be lived… or at least that is what i read from some of their faces.
asaichi on NHK was back on today after the non-stop coverage of the tsunami of the last few days. i guess this is an extremely good sign, or maybe i am just too optimistic and blind to say reality as pictured outside japan. interesting to see the ‘newscast’ learning how to prepare makeshift diapers out of plastic bags. worth noting that one of the journalists is from fukushima ken!
most of the attention right now is on reactors 2 and 3 and the levels of water that is to cover and cool down the rods. after the unsuccesful attempt to cool the reactors from the air, they are now trying to get the SDF to bring firemen into the area to cool down the plant from trucks. the process should start in the morning.
people in the prefecture of fukushima who have been evacuated have been taken to shelters in safer areas. in this middle school a family of six says that the kids keep on asking when they will be able to go back home. the grandfather is unable to refrain from crying about the situation.
there has been a considerably snowfall around Minamisanriku over the night, but that has not stopped rescue teams from venturing out looking for survivors. the people who are still looking for their relatives tell extremely painful stories. the gentleman in blue is looking for 5 relatives but he has not been able to locate any of them. the older gentleman is asked by the journalist who is he looking for, his father? he says that he has no hope to find him, he looks at the collapsed area where he used to live… he says he is just looking for something that can remind him of his father.
according to estimates by the NHK the number of deceased and missing people after the tsunami is to be around 13.400. in miyagi ken alone there are more than 2000 dead and a similar figure of people who have not been able to be contacted. the death toll increases every day and it has gone past the 4.000. the number of internally displaced people (IDP’s) is slightly over 330.000.
interesting report from Sendai city about how people in one of the shelters, and old high school, start their day. in their new rutine, the journalist notes, people sleep in the classrooms as can be seen by the steam on the windows. as there is no hot water, it is being heated outside and some people gather in the morning to warm themselves up. in another report yesterday, some people said to be doing morning exercises to warm up. there is some volunteers who live nearby who are helping out deliver food and drinks.
there has been a lot of concern on the delivery of goods to the north-east so NHK had a journalist explain how much the situation has improved. apparently, road 5 that runs from tohoku to kanto is open and roads leading to the coastal areas are also operational. there are 2 ports that reaponed and several airports are in use. for example, in sendai helicopters can take off and land easily. there has been a logistic effort to deliver goods and, although there are shortages in certain areas, the biggest part is being restocked.
the coverage of events outside japan is not as comprehensive as one would expect, but there are plenty of stories. noting, though, that there is no reference to the alarming messages being sent from some european countries in particular. NHK reported about and origami session in taiwan in favour of the victims; a concert in berlin where there was a piece dedicated to the victims; a campaign by save the children in the uk where people are invited to leave their change after the do their groceries and an interesting story from the us. GM, manufacturer of the #1 and # 2 turbines in the fukushima plant is offering to send equipment to regain power suply into the reactors.
the north-east power company, the one delivering electricity to the most affected areas by the tsunami, had announced power cuts starting today. in this hospital in sendai city there was no running water, no gas and no electricity. the doctors decided to transfer most of the patients to a nearby hospital. despite all the attention being taken by the consequences of the fukushima events… the situation is clearly more dramatic in the north.
the weather does not look as too much of a relief for those displaced by the tsunami. the temperatures will barely reach 5ºC in most of affected areas. in ishinomaki the forecat for tomorrow is -5ºC with some strong winds.
… and one final story. in ibaraki ken, the town of ibaraki has decided to review its alert system. apparently the announcement on big speakers, the alarms and the automated messages by email did not function properly because there was a power cut!