Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sendai situation

As you'll be aware Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture was one of the first cities to experience the tsunami. Luckily for many of the residents, the city is located several kilometres inland, and I think only about half of the city was inundated.

I mentioned one blogger in the stricken city in my post a couple of days ago. In his latest post, he gives a good sense of the situation in his area. He starts off by once again thanking those who have contacted him to check he is OK.

I think Miyagi prefecture will continue down a hard road, but however many years, however many decades are needed, it will -like a phoenix- rise again. I really feel in my heart that the whole of Japan, indeed the whole of the world is supporting us.

He goes on to say how they re-opened their shop on the 14th, and they almost instantly sold out. He's got some pictures to illustrate this too, so do check the link above. Here's an extract in English:

On the 14th, we opened up the shop for the first time since the disaster. Then, in the time it takes to say "Ah!" we sold out. We'd completely forgotten to check we had enough provisions for ourself, but we've got rice, and we'll manage somehow, so I've not felt too discouraged.
A lot of  people who came for water also bought some sake to say thanks. There were others who would thank us with tears streaming down their face, and I too couldn't help letting out some tears... But we encouraged each other to stand firm... There were so many people who came to our usually quiet shop.

He also says some people also bought some candles, so presumably (and, I guess, unsurprisingly) there are still large areas of Sendai without electricity. One visitor said they were staying with friends due to damage to their apartment block. But what he says next is probably most interesting:

Then, a middle-aged couple from the Arahama town of Wakabayashi ward, and a taxi driver from Yuriage, Natori stopped by the shop, and bought some sake. "I keep recalling such terrible scenes... I hope the sake will help me forget...", he said, and laughed feebly...
The one's we were most worried about, our family in Yogasakihama, Miyagi district, had the tsunami roll right over them, but miraculously they all got to a shelter unharmed, it seems. Their house is completely washed away, but just that they still have their lives, we're thanking our ancestors.

Some pretty moving stuff, I think. But the amazing thing is, if you look at the kinds of places he talks about, they're all right next to the sea. Places that have been totally annihilated. My wife points out that a lot of people were likely to have been at work when the tsunami hit, and thus further inland... I think a lot of lives may have been saved just by virtue of the calamity occurring on a weekday.

In any case, the picture on the ground seems to be one of calm -albeit saddened- determination to see things set right once more.

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