Sunday, April 10, 2011

Japan's Disaster True Ground Zero - Not Nuclear Power Plants

Today I went with 4 friends to deliver relief supplies to Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture in Japan. Ishinomaki and Kesenuma were ground zero for the earthquake and tsunami.

Even though many foreigners in Tokyo freaked out and ran out in an irrational panic, there are still a very many who want to be a part of, and help, the Japanese community as this is our home for better or worse (also because Ishinomaki and Kesenuma really are "Ground Zero" for the disaster).

In Ishinomaki and Kesenuma - and surrounding areas - over 27,800 people have lost their lives or disappeared.... The nuclear accident in Fukushima, while serious, is still only responsible for zero deaths and six injured (all who have been released from hospital with no expected complications).

My friends, Michio Hashimoto, Timo Budow, Ken Nishikawa and Roger Marshall all pitched in for the effort.

Michio took the photos below.

These photos say it all. Being at Ishinomkai and walking around and taking pictures and breathing the air was like a bad dream: Everything was covered in black sh*t and it smelled like a plugged toilet on a dirty, swampy fishing boat; it was like a nightmare.

Whatever you touched - or didn't touch - it didn't matter: the wrenched smell and rancid seawater mixed with the stench of death... It permeated your nostrils and it permeated your clothes.

I think I will have to shower and scrub heavily for a week or more to maybe have a chance to cleanse this putrid odor from my body pores.

It didn't matter what you touched or felt; you started feeling and smelling like the stinking spoiled, polluted ocean and the odor of death.

Buildings destroyed and deserted

Cars somehow smashed under buildings

 40 meter long ships landed in neighborhoods that are 250 meters from the bay

Cars inside of shops

Slammed against light poles

The army runs baths that give warmth to over 200 people per day

On the front of the boat is spray-painted "Danger! Do not ride bikes!" 

Two lawn chairs sit undamaged while cars and boats pile upon one another

Notice the car at right

Several ships sit in the middle of streets near the crossways

Every street looks like this or worse


Seemingly undamaged but completely abandoned... No electricity or water

View across the river
From the bridge looking towards the ocean (still about 6 kilometers away)

Looks like the view from Hiroshima Dome towards the ocean in 1945

Amazing that some buildings still stood

Houses near the waterfront are totalled

Entire business districts and neighborhoods destroyed

View from the side of a bridge over a river near Ishinomaki

Water heaters for Japanese military set up public baths

There's thousands of places like this with cars stacked on cars

There's thousands of places like this with ships sitting in the middle of neighborhoods all over, Ishinomaki, Kasenuma and other smaller towns and farms along the way. This is the real disaster.

Propeller of 10 tons ship sitting on main thoroughfare.

Mud and dirt caked over park near river

Typical case of rest area and/or park under a foot of mud

Like I said, there's ships like this everywhere

Car hanging over precipice about to fall into river

Finally, we delivered a two-ton truck of supplies to Sunnet Nagomi 
center for the disabled and handicapped in Ishinomaki

Sunnet Nagomi is a center to care for the handicapped and the aged. We delivered, stationary, boots, plastic goods, water and other supplies.


Mike Newton said...

Kudos to you and the rest of the gang Mike..

Poots said...

Good for you and your friends Mike.

You lead by example.

Not a phony manager-type among you.


Anonymous said...

Good job, Mike. Nice to see people actually doing something instead of just wringing hands or running around like headless chickens. I am sure you are also aware of similar efforts by FBC in Kobe, but others may not be, so here is a link:
Maybe you can even find some way to pool efforts for greater effect.

Also good to see you modding idiotic comments from anklebiters.