Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 13, March 23: Update on situation in Japan

I took a day off today to recharge my batteries after two very busy days (Monday & Tuesday) at the CRASH relief command center. Here is an update on the situation in Japan.

  • The condition of the damaged nuclear reactors has stabilized. Although there are some concerns about radiation in food from the area, it seems the government is taking the necessary precautions. Levels of radiation in Tokyo are normal and there is no health concern related to radiation.
  • The American Embassy in Japan continues to send us updates on the situation in Japan. The report from yesterday included this statement: "The United States is continuing to do everything it can and should do to support our close friends, the people of Japan, as they respond to this disaster." 
  • Supplies of gasoline are especially in short supply, as are some food items. The news is that supply shortages should begin to ease by the end of the week. I travel by bicycle, saving the gas in our tank in case it is needed. Concerns over elevated radiation levels in tap water has caused bottled water in stores to sell out.
  • Rolling power outages in Tokyo continue, although we have not experienced them yet in our area. As the weather warms up there will be a relatively brief period of time when the need for electricity will ease. Once summer arrives it is likely there will be a need for conservation measures and perhaps rolling power outages again.
  • The death toll is over 9000, and the number missing nearly 13,000. Although we will continue to get reports from the affected areas, we have yet to hear of even one Christian who was lost. It is not known how many foreigners lost their lives, but we heard of the first American today: (video)
  • There are almost 300,000 people living in shelters, including those who have evacuated from the area most affected by radiation. In most places people have the basic necessities, but illness is common and easily spread and the weather is still quite cold. The trauma of the disaster and the stress of living in a gymnasium is becoming more evident, especially among the children.
  • Aftershocks continue every day, with two relatively large ones this morning in the area where the reactors are. 
  • Jan and the boys arrived safely in Singapore and are staying at the OMF Guest Home there. This trip was a gracious gift from good friends, and will allow Jan a break from the stressful situation here. She will meet with the OMF Medical Advisor while she is there. The school the boys attend will be closed until April 4, so they are not missing school but doing assignments online.

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