It has not just been one disaster, but instead is disaster heaped upon disaster three times over. First the earthquake, then a Tsunami, and now the growing Nuclear crisis. Just one is a national catastrophe, but all three together is truly hard to grasp. This is not a story of anonymous numbers in a far away place, its about people, just like you are me.
It is times like this that brings out both the best in people and also the worst. The kooks quickly rush in spouting nonsense about super moons being the cause, or simply religious crap about the wrath of made-up gods, but I don’t propose to rant about them now. Instead I wish to simply focus upon the very human factor here.
This is not a numbers game, these are people we can all empathise with, for they are us and we are them, we are all related and have a common ancestor. There is a common belief in some minds that only the religious can empathise with others, but it is times such as this that such myths are washed away by the stark realities of this human tragedy.
In Today’s UK Telegraph, Julian Ryall writes from Ishinomaki …
The atmosphere in the room on the third floor, where 30 children whose parents simply disappeared when the tsunami swept through the town, is very different.
Viewed through the window, the children sit more still and are apparently engrossed in books or card games. They are watched over by other relatives or teachers and we are not allowed to enter or speak with them. Understandably, they do not want their charges to have more reminders of the disaster that has befallen them.
Masami Hoshi was the sports teacher at the school but, since the Japanese tsunami, has been trying to get enough food for the 657 people living in the four-storey school building and locate missing students and their parents.
He has achieved that with a handful, but these 30 are still alone.
“The tsunami came just when the parents of the middle classes were arriving to collect their children, so we managed to get them inside and to safety,” Hoshi told The Daily Telegraph.
“The younger ones had left with their parents a little earlier,” he said. “The ones who went to homes behind the school probably survived. Those who went that way” – he points across a playground coated with grey mud towards a main road littered with cars, electricity pylons and shattered glass – “probably didn’t make it.”
Even though the school is a mile away from the sea wall that was meant to protect Ishinomaki, the wall of water raced across the playground and into the ground floor of the building. A clear line on the wall shows just how high it reached. It is chest-high on an adult and above the heads of most of the pupils here.
“Some of the parents were sucked back out across the playground when the waters receded so we grabbed fire hoses and threw them out and dragged them all back in,” said Hoshi.
The school has no electricity, heating or running water. Hoshi is waiting for food to be delivered and has no idea how long that might take.
If you wish to help, then here are some non-religious suggestions …
Non-Believers Giving Aid
c/o The Richard Dawkins Foundation
11605 Meridian Market View
Unit 124 PMB 381
Falcon CO 80831
If in the UK, funds can be sent to:
The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
266 Banbury Road
Oxford 0X2 7DL
More details here …