Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
From now on, 11 March 2011 will be infamously known as the day of Higashi Nihon Dai Shinsai (東日本大震災/Great Eastern Japan Disaster). The deadly duo (earthquake-tsunami) evoked one disasters after another, causing tragedies and damages to not just to Tohoku (東北) and Kanto (関東) regions, but agonizing the nation as a whole.
Deadly fire broke out in many places. One of worst inferno was in Chiba, Ichihara City (市原市). The earthquake triggered an explosion in Cosmo oil refinery and set off a raging blaze that took firefighters EIGHT days to extinguish completely. And yet, it is not a happy ending. Cosmo is not the only one put out of action. Out of eight oil refineries in Kanto region, five were affected by the quake. Hence, resulted in a shortage of fuel and petrol. Petrol kiosks began to be plagued with long queues up to a few kilometers. Worst of all, having heaters without any kerosene further added to the misery of the survivors, as they struggled to stay alive in the freezing winter cold.
Also in Chiba… Urayasu (浦安市), home to Tokyo Disney Resort, is now facing a grave situation. The earthquake liquefied two third of its reclaimed land. Mud (whether wet or dry) is disrupting life of the residents. Buildings and structures are left tilting, extremely vulnerable if another major quake strikes. Majority of homes are now without water, gas and sewage.
Until now, Japan’s most critical and health-threatening emergency is still far from resolving. In a nutshell, the deadly duo damaged the crucial cooling systems for the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, and sparked off threat of total meltdown. In other words, if any of the reactor core is damage from overheating (God forbid!), massive emission of extremely dangerous radiation will escalate. To prevent that from happening, the team (plant operators, experts, firefighters, defense forces and anyone involved) voluntarily put their lives at great risk, in the ongoing battle to stabilize the unpredictable crisis.
Radiation Level in Water Exceed Infant-safe Level:
Despite of the team’s persistent effort, alarming amount of radioactive substances occasionally leaked into air, seawater and soil. Undoubtedly, making the residents of Fukushima, as well as anyone in Japan, live in constant fear of radiation poisoning. The recent discoveries of radioactive-tainted vegetables, raw milk and tap water have also further exacerbate public fears. People race to stocked up water and food necessities, sweeping clean the supermarkets’ shelves.
With its generated electricity slashed due to the severely damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) now had to implement power outages in a few prefectures. However, TEPCO’s area-by-area power rationing was a mess during the initial phase. Either they include power outages in some evacuation centers in Chiba and Ibaraki, adding to the misery of the victims. Or, they did not materialized any planned blackout despite of announcements, causing disruption in train operations that lead to notorious bottleneck of commuters in almost all stations. Businesses were also badly affected. Though the public fumed at TEPCO for the unnecessary chaos, they were mindful of the situation in disaster-hit areas, everyone just swallowed their anger and willingly live with the inconveniences. Currently, with companies and residents putting in their energy-saving efforts, the supply-demand so far is still containable. Hence, in most days, the scheduled 3-hour rolling blackout for many areas was called off.
Finally, nothing is worst than seeing the death toll continue to rise each day. To date, according to Asahi Shimbun (30 March 2011), the deadly duo had robbed 11,168 people of their lives and 18,382 people are still reported missing. I doubt anything can ease the unimaginable pain of losing loved ones to such catastrophe. It must have been living hell for the survivors. I cried after reading “Why am I only left?…” (by Yasunori Sakamoto) and “Parents in Japan comb through school that’s now a graveyard” (by John M. Glionnamy). So many of such stories have filled my heart with grief.
My heart goes out to you, Japan.
I will weep along with you.
I will pray for you.
Better days will come…
Until then, I will walk with you in this difficult journey.
You will not be alone.