On Edge: How People Feel About the Japanese Water Situation

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On edge, that’s the consensus of how many people feel. There are mixed messages regarding the water situation. For the most part it’s safe for adults but bad for small children. We are encouraged to drink bottled water accept there’s no bottled water left in any stores. What would have happened if they deemed it necessary for everyone to drink bottled water? In that case there would major problems because supplies here are gone. I feel that the Japanese citizens have handled these disasters amazingly well.

The buildings are by far incredibly strong and very prepared for earthquakes. Unfortunately emergency support, shelters, and logistics seem very unprepared. Shelters for the most part are a public space or gymnasium. Unlike US fallout shelters or emergency shelters; the ones here don’t have stocked supplies. If you saw one of these gymnasiums with refugees in them on TV you may think they are like the ones in the US. Large, well lit, and heated. Think again. In these places people are given an allotted area for sleeping and a basic roof over their heads.

These centers are poorly insulated. Heat comes from small portable kerosene burners. Hardly enough to warm a few much less a large group of people. People amass in these places for sanctuary but will have to wait for support to arrive. Long days sitting, listen/watching the news. Meals consist of 1 rice ball and miso soup. Perhaps now these conditions are slightly better, but people had to endure these conditions longer than necessary. Water for bathing and washing is extremely limited. I believe that although the circumstances are dire; they could have been better prepared than they are now. Then there’s the mixed reports from the media and authorities.

By giving so many vague and mixed warnings and padding information; they’ve lost credibility. Most of us don’t believe or trust what’s being said. It’s tense, it’s uncertain, and most are containing a lot of stress. As for the intensity of the nuclear disaster, I’ve done a lot of research lately. I contacted a few knowledgeable people who have access to researchers.

All have given me reassuring information from scientist who studied nuclear physics and or nuclear engineering. Their message is that the situation is dangerous in the immediate area of the reactor. But even if it were to explode, the radiation is minimal. It will not be anything like Chernobyl. According to them the amount of exposure if a reactor exploded would be about 1 X-Ray for 8 hours of exposure. Unnecessary amounts but likely not enough to cause harmful effects. The leaked radiation also dissipates after 8 days. So far this is hard to believe but by far the most rational information given. I’m leaning towards their opinion.

Good God, I hope they are right. As for other things on this day. Another large magnitude 5 aftershock hit during the morning. The weather has turned cold again and stores are still scantly stocked. All these factors make one feel like they are driving on a long trip with a quarter tank of gas and only able to refuel a few liters/gallons at a time. It’s been 2 weeks now and we are running with our fuel gauges ominously close to “E.” Things seem to be improving at a modest but hopeful pace. But most people here are on edge. That’s the best way to describe it.

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