Disaster in Japan

Saturday, 12 March 2011

When major disasters happen in countries far away, although it saddens me and my heart goes out to the victims and families of victims, I guess I never really worried about it. I imagine it's probably the same for many other people, and although I'm not proud to say it, it's likely to do with the fact that it's so far away it couldn't possibly affect me. So when I woke up yesterday morning to hear about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, not 50 miles from where my best friend is living I was horrified. In fact. it still hadn't quite sunk in as I was walking to Uni and it took  a call from James to make me fully realise the seriousness of what had happened/was happening.  When I returned home from Uni I sat in front of my pc watching the BBC News live coverage, and must have remained their for a good 4 hours until Chris came, trying my best not to think the worst and to keep myself together. Even when Chris came I was watching the coverage for another couple of hours, not daring to move in case they said something which would be relevant to Amanda. I must have watched each report at least half a dozen times and it never said anything useful. It struck me that the news only reported about Tokyo and Sendai, purely because they were the only cities anyone in world was actually going to care about, with Sendai being the worst hit city and Tokyo being the capital.  It didn't matter that there were many other cities and towns suffering, as long as they covered the two major ones.

I know how bad I was feeling yesterday, and the worst was not knowing what was going on. Whether Amanda was hurt but safe, completely fine or the worst case scenario that I dare not think about. I can only imagine the worry her family were feeling.

Waking up this morning after a rather fitful night of sleep, both good news and bad news became apparent. We'd had word that Amanda was safe but with no power, a relief to all of us. But the nuclear power station that was across all the headlines yesterday due to the cooling system failure, that is situated only 20 miles away from Amanda's city, had now suffered an explosion and it is unsure as to whether it was a steam explosion or whether the reactor was going into meltdown. The news are trying to reassure everyone by saying it is unlikely it was a reactor breach, but the constant increase in exclusion zone fails to reassure me. Nor the silence about what the explosion actually was.

Looking at the pictures and videos of the devastation caused by the water and the quake, it's hard to imagine how the nation is feeling. Thousands of people have lost their homes though thankfully the Japanese are a prepared society and the death toll is much lower than it should have been. Had Britain suffered a disaster of this magnitude, I've no doubt half the population would be wiped out. As a nation we are far too complacent. Aid is being sent out and swiftly and hopefully Japan won't let this setback keep them down for long.

I myself wish I could do something to help.



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