It’s been 2 months since the Japanese Tsunami and the time has passed like a blur. Although not as present in the news and world media, the situation remains dire.
The situation with the nuclear reactors confirmed that one of the reactors had a full meltdown on the first day. We’ve been given the news but on information regarding what this means and what dangers this poses. With this there’s still the situation of displaced people and refugees in shelters.
From conversations I’ve had with people who’ve recently returned, there’s a lot of refugees in shelters still not receiving sufficient support. Even now many shelters are not able to provide hot or properly cooked meals. Most meals served have been limited to rice balls, instant soups, and food brought in by volunteers.
Many refugees remain uncertain about their immediate future. It’s important that people here are aware of these things. With this in mind;
I’m departing for Tohoku again Sunday to volunteer in clean up assistance and to work as a photographer. I’ve been asked by a company to go with a team to the area around Ishinomaki in order to document and assess the current situation. Afterwards the report and images gathered will enable them to coordinate aid and address critical needs. Unlike the other trips I’ve made, this time the team will take the Shinkansen to Sendai then rent a 4×4 for the excursion to the disaster area. Instead of a 5 to 7 hour drive, the Shinkansen will get us to Sendai in about 2 hours. We’ll go to the disaster relief command center for the NGO Peace Boat.
At which point we attend several briefings and will be given our clean up duty assignments. We are instructed to be prepared with head lamps, rugged clothing, leather gloves, boots, dust masks, rain gear, and safety goggles. Going inside the structures will have hazards that require proper protection. I look forward to this trip as it’s yet another opportunity to make a difference. Whether it’s cleaning a home, a business, or public building; it all contributes to bringing the community back to life. It’s round 3, I look forward to the next.
Linh Vien Thai is Amerasian, born in Dalat, South Vietnam, where he continued to lived during the war. He left for the U.S. and is now an American living in Tokyo. He enjoys adventure traveling and doing what’s right to make the world a better place.