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Cold rice balls, no flush toilets at quake-hit shelter

47 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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47 Comments
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He was delighted to see U.S. Marines flights bringing supplies, which included ready-to-eat food and emergency supplies, via tilt-rotor aircraft called MV-22 Ospreys, which landed at a park on the edge of town.

When people are hungry, exhausted, and don't know what to do or where to go, they don't care where or how the help comes, they are grateful for being alive, and appreciative of the people who are coming to help.

11 ( +14 / -2 )

Who cares how the stuff gets there as long as it gets there.

9 ( +12 / -2 )

Who cares how the stuff gets there as long as it gets there.

Exactly! To answer your question.....the following,

New propaganda for the Ospreys. Anyway, definitely the last thing I write in this site.

Too many people here can not get over the "how" and choose to focus on "what" and conveniently forget that there they literally thousands of people needing help. Again, it seems that they would rather have people suffer than be assisted by relief goods from an Osprey.

Where is their indignation at the Yakuza assisting these relief efforts? Right, because they are Japanese it's ok to turn a blind eye that they are gangsters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Again, it seems that they would rather have people suffer than be assisted by relief goods from an Osprey."

It was similar in Kobe. The socialist prime minister refused to send in the SDF, because his political party was anti-SDF. HUndreds if not thousands of people died as a direct result.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Are we living in the third world?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Yes, you certainly are.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

One of the most important things during a disaster is clean toilets and drinking water, a lot of bacteria and diseases are spread through this, along with distribution another important factor that we need to take care of better in future disaster situations.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They don't want laxury things but they need minimum to be alive now.

Of course we fully understand hot food or their favorite one are better for them.

We have to endure and we need to help each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The government hasn't learned ANYTHING from the tohoku disaster. EVERY region in Japan has to have proper contingency plans for disasters coupled with adequate means to get to rural communities and ensure that access to clean water is abundant. This lack of prepardness just shows how inept the gov is. On 3/11 we were taken by surprise. But what's the excuse this time? Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. The gov should have been better prepared. I mean, what are they going to do if something like this happens just before or during the olympics??

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Would it be out of line to suggest that rather than spending time criticizing the government in this venue, giving money for relief or volunteering to help would be more beneficial to the victims?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

EVERY region in Japan has to have proper contingency plans for disasters coupled with adequate means to get to rural communities

People say this every time, but coincidentally, these two recent disasters have gone beyond what people imagined could happen. In Tohoku, who would have predicted a M9? Historically it has never occurred, no one knew the tsunami could run up 100 meters. I went past all the old tsunami markers.

This time too...usually you have a large quake, and the aftershocks all center on the original epicenter. This quake is different, the locus of the quake is moving southwest. It is something that has never happened before. In a normal situation, one city is cut off or heavily damaged, and people can come in from surrounding towns...for Kobe, firefighters from Osaka, Miki, Sanda, Nishinomiya and other places came in. In Kyushu Kumamoto has damage, Aso has damage, and now the southwest is having large quakes, and Oita is now involved as well. It's something not many could predict. Seismologists from all over Japan have come to the area as it's something they've never seen. 'woulda shoulda coulda' is easy from a distance,

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was just one big magic wand that would allow everything to get back to normal. But sadly there isn’t.

Natural disasters are incredibly hard for the victims, and there’s nothing that feels natural about them. But it’s not going to get solved overnight. It takes time to implement plans and even though there are parts of the SDF that spend their entire military career working on disaster relief these plans can not be rolled out immediately to ensure that everyone has everything.

From these articles everybody has water. Everybody has some food. They are delivering the basic essentials in the immediate response. They will subsequently start delivering better food. Once the infrastructure has been repaired to a point that they can get deliveries in at the volume needed. It is not something that is ever going to happen overnight and the expectations should be managed. I remember the joy of people’s faces when we were dropping off carrots in May 2011 which had suddenly become a luxury item.

With the exception of the car park which isn’t an emergency shelter (we all know that bureaucracy in Japan struggles with things which are outside of the norm) where there have been no supplies delivered, the government is delivering exactly what is expected. Enough to survive on.

It’s easy to be frustrated from a far by the perceived lack of progress but I can guarantee that whichever country you’re from, your own government is not going to be flying in helicopter after helicopter to provide supplies when there is already the basic amount. The response to Katrina is a good example of that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

what are they going to do if something like this happens >just before or during the olympics??

Not unprecedented. Sichuan Province in China suffered a major earthquake the same year the Beijing Olympics were held. I'm sure Japan will survive. How much death and suffering ordinary Japanese would have to endure, that's another question.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It’s easy to be frustrated from a far by the perceived lack of progress but I can guarantee that whichever country you’re f>>rom, your own government is not going to be flying in helicopter after helicopter to provide supplies when there is already >>the basic amount. The response to Katrina is a good example of that.

In an exception situation like this, I think my country will do a requisition and evacuate the people to the nearest hotel within 200 or 300 km / radius and certainly not let them sleep in prison.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Himajin: You said 'In Tohoku, who would have predicted a M9'. Everyone who reads, especially in Tohoku, could have. Major earthquakes and tsunami have occurred in the same area on a regular basis, most with written records. One of the evacuation areas on higher ground was built near a plaque from the 1600's, saying 'This area not safe after a tsunami-- go higher.' It was easily found and documented by a professor. Some of the older generation remember bring told the same thing by their grandparents. There were reports of citizens not willing to enter that building where the plaque was, but kept going up. They survived.

Warnings went unheeded and history was ignored. Money exchanged for safety.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Surely they can do better! This is a 'supposedly' modern country that has a long history of major earthquakes. Why are these people suffering so badly?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Here's a National Geographic article about an earthquake/tsunami in 1896 that killed 26,000 people.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/1896/09/japan-tsunami/scidmore-text

I'm sick of hearing that the Tohoku earthquake was a once-in-a-1,000-year event. That is complete nonsense.

How long ago was the Great Tokyo earthquake? These are once-in-a-century events and we're overdue.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Like Fukushima, which is still on-going, in spite of the obvious difficulties, the handling of this is a great embarrassment to Japan. Considering Fukushima, I feal sorry for people of Kyushu. Their tragedy will also become on-going and continue for years and years. If they are really lucky, maybe there will be a rush to clean up before the Olympics to avoid national embarrassment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just to put that National Geographic report into context. We drove through Rikuzentakata in April and May 2011. We drove past signs that said 'expected tsunami inundation area end'. These signs would have been positioned based on historical information, based on what the absolute worst case scenario would be. The devastation reached there and continued on for hundreds of metres more.

If I remember rightly, the tsunami reached 4-5 km in land.

So whilst a large tsunami had happened previously the one in March 2011 caught everyone by surprise because of the sheer size of it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You voted down my post that shows the government should have a plan for these events because they are not as rare as people think? Unbelieveable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Can't they airlift in food if needed?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hot dogs with buns will be great to distribute to people ....and Any soup with rice or noodle.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sad for the people.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Citizen 2012, "and certainly not let them sleep in prison."

The overreaction to this story is ridiculous. It is a spacious hall that happens to be part of a prison complex in a sturdy safe building. It is not as if the evacuees are being locked into prison cells.

I have been an evacuee myself on two occasions. Believe me I would have been grateful for such accommodations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This lack of prepardness just shows how inept the gov is. On 3/11 we were taken by surprise. But what's the excuse this time?

What are you talking about? Long before 3/11 there was the Hanshin/Awaji earthquake, and there was one in Fukuoka, Nagano, a tsunami in Hokkaido, earthquakes and other disasters that this country is prone to.

People have unrealistic ideas of what a government can and can not do on short notice when something of this magnitude happens. Because we live in an age of instant information, people automatically think that governments can instantly react and make things better by snapping their fingers.

Reality is different.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sunday brought bananas, as well as additional portable toilets and diapers supplied by the university.

Not a fan of promiscuity myself (well not with other blokes or 70yo+ that is !) so I feel for the oldies who have to sleep in gymnasiums and share portaloos with strangers. Plenty of stories to tell though!

I hope they can all go back home (their old home or a new one) asap and that government bodies and insurance companies continue to help once the cameras are back to Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are we living in the third world?

I have yet to hear of a country that received more praise than criticism over their handling of the people after a natural disaster. That would make the entire World third world.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Major earthquakes and tsunami have occurred in the same area on a regular basis, most with written records.

And there's never been a 9. A M9.0 earthquake would have 10 times the amplitude, and release 32 times the energy of a M8.0 earthquake. So all your preparations may just go down the tubes, if 8 is all you've experienced and a 9 happens. There have only been 5 9's in recorded history, how do you prepare for something like that?

Each 0.5 tick on the richter scale is a massive increase in released energy. While an 8.3 is the force of 50 megatons of TNT, a 9 releases 10 x the energy. They had an 8.5 before so you can't say it's never happened? Not the same thing at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think my country will do a requisition and evacuate the people to the nearest hotel within 200 or 300 km / radius and certainly not let them sleep in prison.

I want to know what country that you live in that could evacuate 100,000 people to an area 200km to 300km away and move them into a hotel. (Not to mention within DAYS of the actual quakes. The logistics are mind-boggling to say the least)

Please share with us the details, because I think there are plenty of folks that would love to move to this up until now unheard of paradise.

3 ( +3 / -1 )

Luckily it was not two months ago when it would have been a lot colder,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What are you talking about? Long before 3/11 there was the Hanshin/Awaji earthquake,

A 9. The quake being a M9 was the surprise. At a 9, instead of the expected 8 or 8.4, made all the damage worse, made the tsunami much higher.

trouble, people down-vote and don't comment all the time, don't let it bother you.

I want to know what country that you live in that could evacuate 100,000 people to an area 200km to 300km away and move them into a hotel. (Not to mention within DAYS of the actual quakes. The logistics are mind-boggling to say the least)

I know, huh? How many buses would that take? pause I just had to know...the average bus seats 60, so that's over 3,300 busloads of people!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd take a cold rice ball over no rice ball. I'd take a no-flush toilet over no toilet. And to the 60-year-old guy who is worried about his teeth, I'd say that's the least of your worries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cmon how difficult can it be to give these people one hot meal a day?

This is atrocious!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Cmon how difficult can it be to give these people one hot meal a day?

Pretty difficult - roads are out, 100,000 people are displaced, and the region just experienced an earthquake which ruined a lot of infrastructure. It's not like someone is actively working to ensure these people don't get support, it's just a logistical nightmare to deal with for an event of this magnitude that happens with zero warning.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That's what helicopters are for stranger.

Have done famine relief work myself back in the day.

Get every available chopper down there now and get all hands to the pump.

No excuses!! This aint no third world country....THIS IS JAPAN!! ;)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That's what helicopters are for stranger.

Get every available chopper down there now and get all hands to the pump.

Is there something somewhere to show that they aren't already doing this? Or are you just working on assumptions?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well they obviously aren't Stranger because the folk in this article are still going without aren't they?

....and heres a "B" for ya if one were needed..

Why aren't we seeing on the TV dozens of choppers flying in like Apocalypse Now instead of the usual solitary one purely for the TV cameras.

For a country like Japan this is a shameful response. They still haven't learned anything from the previous TWO devastating earthquakes. They just seem to live in hope that it wont happen again for another 50 or 100 years...

Well here we are...

...and you can bet there will be another one soon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well they obviously aren't Stranger because the folk in this article are still going without aren't they?

That's a non sequitur. If there aren't enough resources to supply the people going without, then they could be putting in the best effort possible, and still have people going without.

Why aren't we seeing on the TV dozens of choppers flying in like Apocalypse Now instead of the usual solitary one purely for the TV cameras.

Here are a couple possible reasons:

-- because the TV isn't showing us these scenes

-- there aren't enough choppers available to be able to fill the skies like Apocalypse Now

-- the choppers that are there are spread out between different areas, trying to help as many people as possible

...and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

For a country like Japan this is a shameful response.

Or maybe it's an excellent response. Again, this is a huge logistical nightmare that happened without any warning. There are 100,000 people to assist, in addition to finding the missing/dead. The existence of some people who are still not receiving as much as would be nice is not proof that the response is shameful, nor is it proof that they have not learned anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Or maybe it's an excellent response. Again, this is a huge logistical nightmare that happened without any warning.

There is NEVER going to be a warning!! Why do folk say this happened without warning?

It should be EXPECTED in a country like Japan.

It's no IF... it's WHEN!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It was similar in Kobe. The socialist prime minister refused to send in the SDF, because his political party was anti-SDF. HUndreds if not thousands of people died as a direct result.

No this is not true. Up until this earthquake the SDF could not deploy without cabinet or PM approval. Once the request was made they were sent into action to assist with relief efforts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why do folk say this happened without warning?

Because there was no warning.

It should be EXPECTED in a country like Japan.

It is. But that doesn't change the fact that ramping up a help mission for 100,000 people on no warning, even with the expectation that it's going to happen sometimes is a logistical nightmare. This isn't a movie, it's the real world, where it takes time to gather the supplies, gather the transport for the supplies, find out which avenues of transport are even accessible, figure out where all the people are, find the missing people, and about one million other little things. It's not like a concert or a presentation where people plan it down to the last minute for months on end, it's something that happens suddenly, at any time of day, at any time of year, anywhere in the country.

You are looking at it pessimistically without having the inside insight to know whether it's being handled excellently, or horribly. You are just seeing the fact that some people only have cold rice balls a few days later, and using that as a determination that they are doing a crappy job. That logic doesn't work though. One would need to be inside the operations to know how well it is being run, or not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why aren't we seeing on the TV dozens of choppers flying in like Apocalypse Now

They can't land in the middle of mountains of crushed houses?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cold rice balls, no flush toilets at quake-hit shelter

This headline is sensationalizing things that are everyday reality for lots of people in Japan.

Tens of millions of people eat cold rice every day as a bento or onigiri. Even when there is a choice to heat them, many people eat onigiri from convenience stores and supermarkets cold. Since when are cold onigiri newsworthy?

Millions of people in Japan, especially in inaka, aren't on a sewer and don't have a proper flushing toilet. My inlaws don't. They have a septic tank. Until ten years ago, they had a long drop, a simple hole in the floor. They live in a city of 200,000 people on the Tokaido Shinkansen. It is not inaka. In Kumamoto, 66% of houses are connected to a sewer. In Oita, it is under half (48%). Tens of thousands of houses have septic tanks and toilets that may only dribble flush. Most houses that are not connected will be in mountainous areas, like Minami Aso, the subject of this story. Inaka has more primitive toilets than Japanese cities have neon lights!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know, huh? How many buses would that take? pause I just had to know...the average bus seats 60, so that's over 3,300 busloads of people!

Or over 6,000 Osprey flights.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

:-D

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a ridiculous article. What's clear is that emergency food has been organized and delivered quickly: full stop. As a survivor of the 2011 earthquake, I can speak first hand about what food is available in those rural communities until power and supplies are re-established. Kanpan being "hard as a rock?" Of course, they are nutritious dry biscuits intended to provide vital nutrition without expiring in the can for five years or more. That's why they exist, to survive the first few days of disaster. And 'cold' onigiri? Sounds like a typical salaryman's lunch. Again, I know first hand, these are not terrible conditions, so need to stop blaming officials by suggesting that they're not doing enough.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We need tin foil. Lots and lots of aluminium tin foil. most important is knowledge of survival skills at the current.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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