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2 weeks after disaster, 27,000 dead or missing; gov't faces task of clearing rubble

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Three years after Katrina, which spawned enough debris to cover Britain, the U.S. government said the mess is not even close to being cleaned up in the New Orleans area.

Largely the case because the Bush administration never took the disaster seriously and never allocated enough funds to begin to tackle the mess. It's a given that the Japanese will work harder and longer to rebuild most (though hopefully not all) the coastal areas destroyed by the tsunami.

The problem with New Orleans in particular, and what makes it different than further east on the Gulf Coast (and the Pacific Coast of Japan), is that half of it is built below river and sea level. As callous as it may seem, these areas, like the now notorious 9th Ward, ought to be abandoned because, unlike a tsunami, hurricanes happen every year. It is more likely that a category 3 or 4 hurricane will again hit the Gulf Coast again in a few year's time than a tsunami like the one generated by the Tohoku earthquake will occur on the Pacific Coast of Japan.

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I wonder if the recycling facilities can handle the millions of tons of rubble. Maybe they will have to just load it all onto barges and dump it at sea.

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Simply burn all the timber! it will take an age to recycle that ammount of debris. People don't have an age to wait to rebuild their lives.

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Send in every member of the Japanese military that is available. The equipment is there, use it. The longer the destroyed buildings remain there, the worse the health problem. Act now.

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I'm sure that the Japanese will do a good job working through the mess. From my experience the Japanese are tenacious and hard working. I imagine there will be a better job done than with Katrina.

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Americans admire the patience and humbleness of the Japanese. Most Americans remember and compare the chaos and hysteria on TV after Katrina as well as the screaming demands of the people with the calmness in Japan. The situation in Japan is an opportunity for the government to spend its yen on hiring anyone who wants to work in the clean up of Japan. It will stimulate the economy many times. The only caveat is that the government must stop funding foreign aid.

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So many people did not have time to evacuate, and are buried undeneath the rubble, so its not as simple as scoop and swoop. They have to remove the debris carefully.

In WTC Ground Zero there were countless issues of debris being dumped into landfills without first sorting for human remains, and this caused a lot of controversy.

There should be separate crews removing the easiest types of debris first, such as vehicles, metals and wood. Mud may be contaminated so it may not be recycled so easily.

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The big difference between Katrina and this disaster is the various government agencies during Katrina spent weeks saying "Not my job! It's your fault!" instead of actually helping people. I think the response in Japan has been pretty good given the scale of the disaster.

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I hope the government will make it possible for volunteers to come and help communities clean up. I want to help if it is possible.

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tkoind2 I'm with you 100% man, However do they want us? I was a builder but did you know there are restrictions on foreign people building in Japan?

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Second Harvest, Peace Boat, Foreign Volunteers Japan are all looking for people to help them. Whether it be raise money, organise deliveries or physically srive up there yourself with a load of supplies.

There is a lot that you can do. So if you want to help, then please do.

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please donate, volunteer, pray. help the wonderful people of Japan! the world is with u, japan! ganbatte! akiramenaide!

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Jeffrey,

The Democrats controlled the Congress, and appropriations start in the House. There is plenty of blame for Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government for Katrina at the aftermath. The real lessons to be learned here are how fast private industry is responding to their contingency plans versus the government. And the dangers of human construction and habitation in areas prone to disaster.

Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Japan, not Katrina.

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Big Question: What will prevent this from happening again? Answer: Nothing.

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Heda Madness THANK YOU! I am an American living in Kobe with a fairly large group of "gaijin" friends that have been looking for the best way to contribute - financially, peoplepower, hands on whatever...

Anyone with specific ideas as to how we can contribute time, money or muscle please be specific and post the best organizations we can align ourselves with!!!!

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Dayfall, if you're on Facebook ask to join the Foreign Volunteers Japan site and there is lots of useful information on there. All of the smaller NGO's seem to be working together to help each other. They seem to be a lot more effective than the bigger names. Aid is being delivered by these small groups and on the FVJ website they've listed the items that are needed where.

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Dayfall, if you're on Facebook ask to join the Foreign Volunteers Japan site and there is lots of useful information on there

Not seeing that name come up in a FB search, could you check that's right? Got some vacation time coming up, kind of like to do something useful with it.

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It comes up on mine in groups and there's also a blog Foreign volunteers Japan - all one word .org

foreignvolunteers. org

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Where to start indeed....

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Not sure if this will come out right: after facebook dot com type /#!/home.php?sk=group_189243007780487&ap=1

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That's got it, thanks Heda

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According to a Korean newspaper, special permits are needed to even enter the area. Is that true?

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Would be good if a moderator could enter the full url to make it easier to join.

So far they've sent something like 5 full trucks worth of aid, raised about 1.5 million yen and that's in about a week or so.

There will also be a concert in Japan featuring international and domestic bands to raise money for something like a school or a hospital wing or whatever can be built with the money raised to help the local communities rebuild but also to create something of a lasting impact.

They welcome contributions from Nihonjin, Gaijin and even flyjin ;-)

But all donations will make their way norht either directly with the FVJ or by them liaising with other organisations that take things up there.

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That's changed I think now that they have the road back up and running but to get prefernce for fuel because there is still a short supply then you need a permit. And if you say I have 7000 bottles of water that we're taking to Miyagi (as the FVJ have done) you get a permit pretty quickly.

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That pic puts a new twist on the term house boat doesnt it !

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Go to the major police stations to get the special permits.

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ExportExpert: Thank god! The first "disaster humor" surfaces.

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doing the math leads to 3000 unidentified bodies. No mention of a DNA database to match victims to relatives... Even from a toothbrush can sufficient DNA be extracted for a match, but unfortunately in this case the homes have also been destroyed.

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Northern Japan just got hit with another quake, lol.

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I think as much non polluting rubble as possible should be used to make an artificial reef...the fishing industry is gone,but such a reef may make things better in the future for the fishing industry and possibly act as a break that would deflect future tsunami.I am no expert,but that is what I am thinking.Or build some big breakwalls.

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i agree with Osakadaz. Artificial reefs created by dumping subway cars have helped restore fish populations in the eastern seaboard of the US. There's too many things to recycle and too little fuel to do the job.

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Its awful ... just too many people to comprehend. Obviously 27000 .. but in terms of actual people ... :(

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