Recovery — a realistic account of what’s entailed

Tsunami wall at Tsu-shi, Japan

Image via Wikipedia

Debris, challenges pile up in Japan 1 month later. Yahoo News, April 11. This is a candid, gritty account of what recovery tasks are ahead for the Japanese.

A month after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the challenges seem as daunting as ever: Thousands are missing and feared dead, tens of thousands have fled their homes, a leaking nuclear plant remains crippled and powerful aftershocks keep coming. Vast tracts of the northeast are demolition sites: The stuff of entire cities is sorted into piles taller than three-story buildings around which dump trucks and earth-movers crawl. Ankle-deep water stagnates in streets, and massive fishing boats lie perched atop pancaked houses and cars. The occasional telephone poll or bulldozer is sometimes the only skyline.

“It’s a hellish sorrow,” said Numata Takahashi, 56, who escaped his home in Natori just before the waters came. “I don’t know where we’ll go, but I’m not coming back here. … We’ll go somewhere where there are no tsunamis.”

Two strong aftershocks have killed people and sunk thousands more households into darkness, while also delaying progress on restoring power to those in darkness since March 11. Facing the prospect of massive shortfalls in the hot summer months, the government is asking companies to cut their consumption drastically or face mandatory energy caps. Over this destruction and deprivation, the fear of radiation hangs. The tsunami knocked out power at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and reactors have been overheating since.

Progress in stabilizing the complex comes slowly most days, or not at all, as the new tremors and radiation repeatedly halt work. Monday’s aftershock briefly cut electricity to the plant and halted work while technicians took cover, but did not endanger operations, according to officials.

All the more reason for doing some recovery planning pre-event; and of course more recovery planning afterwards, when the specifics of the destruction are known.

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