March 17th, 2011

Japanese child

Superhero to the rescue in Japan

An experienced surfer and swimmer, Hideaki Akaiwa, 42, was at work miles from home when the tsunami hit. He rushed back to find a ten foot high sea of water between him, his neighborhood and his wife of twenty years.  He found scuba gear and swam in freezing temperatures through the floating piles of debris, dodging traps and wreckage till he was able to rescue his wife and get her to safety.  Days after searching for his mother fruitlessly in area shelters he went into the water again returning to the neighborhood where she had last been seen. Making his way through water up to his neck he found  and rescued her as well. 

Now frustrated with the high water levels and the lack of help from the outside, he searches for survivors himself through hazardous debris laden water in freezing temperatures, an action hero in cast off clothes and salvaged goggles. 

This man is my hero for the day.  Read about him here:,0,7192950.story

I think I may be spamming your accounts with earthquake posts.  Sorry ahead of time.

For those who are interested, a live feed from Japanese english language television of the earthquake coverage can be accessed here:
Japanese child

Helping Japan

I told you I was in a spam-a-lot mood. 

The People in Japan who have taken refuge in schools and community centers  are suffering in cold, crowded unheated buildings without sanitation and little food or water.  Many of them are old people who have no medication and are in danger from cold and dehydration. They suffer the most: 

"For survivors, in a still-wintry climate, the battle is to keep the elderly healthy and alive.

A hospital in Tagajo was cleaning off muddy medicine Thursday and trying to keep its 90 patients alive without water or electricity. A large generator and two portable toilets were delivered by the Japanese military.

"We've been told we'll get medicine sometime next week," said Daisuke Toraiwa, a physical therapist at the hospital." 


"Fourteen older patients died after being moved to a temporary shelter in a school gym because their hospital was in the evacuation zone near the overheating plant.

Two of the patients died in transit Monday and 12 more at the gym, said Chuei Inamura, a Fukushima government official. It took until Thursday to get all the remaining patients into other hospitals.

"We feel very helpless and very sorry for them," Inamura said. "The condition at the gymnasium was horrible. No running water, no medicine and very, very little food. We simply did not have the means to provide good care."

Doctors Without Borders is working in Japan fighting dehydration, hypothermia, and shock especially among the elderly. Their team is small and they are not yet accepting funds earmarked for Japan, as their work is being funded from their general fund.  Donations to this group will always do good as they are at work in war zones and disaster areas through out the world many of them places to which few pay attention (Ivory Coast for instance).

 Food shipments and aid have been slowed by the lack of petrol, damage to roads, and what is most poignant, fear of radiation. 

World Vision has a team in the affected area.  They have found children and old people sleeping on the floor on nothing but a sheet of cardboard.

A blog of a world vision relief worker, Mitsuko Sobata can be found here:

An old man describes his experiences after the tsunami to her: “The night was cold and only 2 houses remained unwashed by the tsunami, we put up two nights there. There was no electricity, it was dark. We started a small fire and I used snow water to boil rice. It was just a small amount but 30 of us shared that meal together. There were some children too.”

Text ’4JAPAN’ to ’20222′ to give a $10 donation. Or donate online by following any of the above links.
Japanese child

Sometimes you feel like a motherless child

People in shelters for those evacuated from the area around the Nuclear plants feel abandoned by the world:

Aid agencies are reluctant to get too close to the plant. Shelters set up in the greater Fukushima area for "radiation refugees" have little food, in part because nobody wants to deliver to an area that might be contaminated. And with little or no gasoline available, not everyone who wants to leave can get out.

Radiation fears mingled with a sickening sense of abandonment Wednesday.

"People who don't have family nearby, who are old or sick in bed, or couldn't get gasoline, they haven't been able to get away from the radiation," said Emi Shinkawa, who feels doubly vulnerable. Her house was swept away by the tsunami.

Doctors without Borders is there, as is World Vision.

Casey Calamusa, a communications officer with Federal Way, Wash.-based World Vision who is coordinating the operation in Tokyo, said a three-member team went to Fukushima on Wednesday to distribute supplies such as water, blankets and diapers at an evacuation center. The team was equipped with protective masks and suits and stayed outside the exclusion zone, he said.

"They were playing it pretty safe. They were talking to local authorities and letting them know we wanted to help the evacuees," Calamusa said. "There is an imperative to help those people — they've had to leave their belongings behind and they're staying in shelters in near-freezing weather.",0,5992544.story

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nursing home in Japan

I can't embed this video:

A nursing home full of frail elderly people within the evacuation area, can not move their residents because of lack of petrol and the weakness of the patients.  They have no heat to avoid drawing radiation into the building and only a few days of food.  Staff would like to join family in a shelter but can not leave to a place of safety because the patients can not care for themselves.  They call for help.