Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Archive for April, 2011

Thousands of animals still waiting to be rescued the 20km zone in Fukushima


General status of things in Tokyo and Japan

I read about the terrible tornadoes there in the U.S.

Tokyo is about back to normal, though we did have 9 earthquakes today of magnitude 4 or greater. Two were greater than magnitude 5.

The big problem right now is about 140 miles north of here. They are still searching for people lost in the tsunami. I know over 300 people were killed in the tornadoes in the midwest, but right now the death toll from the tsunami is over 15,000 with over 12,000 still missing. So the final death toll will certainly exceed 20,000 or 25,000.

The nuclear reactor will still take 9 months to cool down and shut off if they don’t run into more problems, and they are working 24/7 on that. After that they will probably bury the whole 80 acres.
And of course there are still over 100,000 people in evacuation centers. And because of radiation scares, agriculture in the area has been wiped out. People in evacuation zones can’t even pay movers to come in and take their stuff away.

So there is still a lot going on. It will probably take 10 years for cleanup and rebuild and some people say it will take as long as 30 years to completely cleanup the reactors.


8 quakes so far today

We’ve had 8 quakes today so far greater than magnitude 4. Two were greater than magnitude 5. And it’s still just mid-afternoon.

Most were centered around Fukushima, but I felt at least 3 of them here.


 of 8 quakes (1113 total):

4.8M, depth: 20km 30/4/2011 15:044.6M, depth: 26km 30/4/2011 14:475.2M, depth: 40km 30/4/2011 14:064.7M, depth: 35km 30/4/2011 10:545.3M, depth: 51km 30/4/2011 07:194.8M, depth: 17km 30/4/2011 05:424.6M, depth: 35km 30/4/2011 03:224.9M, depth: 24km 30/4/2011 02:04


What does Hao want?

He’s just sitting there and staring at me.


Just 6 quakes today

There were just 6 quakes today over magnitude 4. The largest was 5.8.


 of 6 quakes (1101 total):

4.6M, depth: 30km 28/4/2011 23:045.8M, depth: 49km 28/4/2011 18:274.9M, depth: 36km 28/4/2011 10:444.9M, depth: 34km 28/4/2011 09:025.1M, depth: 53km 28/4/2011 06:455.1M, depth: 32km 28/4/2011 06:42


Ham & Cheese bagel at 7/11



April 26 update on Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear plant news

Evacuees get home visits of five hours. The government will allow residents who evacuated from the 20-km nuclear zone in Fukushima to visit their homes for up to five hours.

Undersea robot search fails to turn up bodies

Forces comb for tsunami dead

118 medical facilities wrecked in disaster zone

NISA OKs estimates of Tepco sea leaks

Tornadoes – here in Japan

Today the sky suddenly turned dark and the winds became ferocious and I heard lightning. Then the skies became clear blue again. I thought it was a quickly passing thunderstorm.

But later I saw on the news that neighboring Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures had gotten hit by strong tornadoes! I don’t think that’s usual here. The news showed destroyed houses and cars that were tossed about. There were injuries, but fortunately nobody was killed.

Meanwhile, I just felt a few earthquakes today.


A very sad search begins

Japan to launch massive search for quake bodies

TOKYO – Japan will send nearly 25,000 soldiers backed by boats and aircraft into its disaster zone Monday on an intensive land-and-sea mission to recover the bodies of those killed by last month’s earthquake and tsunami, the military said.

Agriculture officials also plan to send a team of veterinarians into the evacuation zone around a stricken nuclear plant to check on hundreds of thousands of abandoned cows, pigs and chickens, many of which are believed to have died of starvation and neglect. The government is considering euthanizing some of the dying animals, officials said.

About 14,300 people have been confirmed dead so far in the catastrophic March 11 tsunami and earthquake. Another 12,000 remain missing and are presumed killed. Some of their bodies were likely swept out to sea, while others were buried under the mass of rubble.

Cleanup crews have discovered some remains as they gingerly removed rotting debris to clear the area for rebuilding.

But the two-day military search operation will be far more extensive, Defense Ministry spokesman Ippo Maeyama said Sunday.

“We will do our utmost to recover bodies for bereaved families,” he said.

A total of 24,800 soldiers will scour the rubble, backed by 90 helicopters and planes, he said. Another 50 boats, along with 100 navy divers, will search the waters up to 20 kilometers off the coast, he said. Police, coast guard and U.S. troops will also take part.

“It’s been very difficult and challenging to find bodies because the areas hit by tsunami are so widespread,” he said. “Many bodies also have been swept away by the tsunami.”

The operation will be the third intensive military search for bodies since the disaster last month. With the waters receding, Maeyama hopes the teams will have more success.

The search was complicated by the decomposition of some of the corpses, he said. Some had already turned into skeletons.

“You have to be very careful in touching the bodies because they quickly disintegrate. We cannot tell the bodies’ gender anymore, let alone their age,” he said.

The searches will continue, however, “as long as families want us to look for their loved ones,” Maeyama said.

Meanwhile, the government in the Fukushima prefecture will send a team of six veterinarians into the 12-mile (20-kilometer) evacuation zone around the radiation-leaking Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to survey the livestock there.

Farmers in the area were estimated to have left 3,000 cows, 130,000 pigs and 680,000 chickens behind when they hurriedly fled the area last month when the nuclear crisis started.

With no time for burials, veterinarians who find dead livestock will spray lime over them to prevent them from spreading disease, agricultural officials said.

The government is also considering euthanizing dying animals, but only after getting permission from their owners, said Yutaka Kashimura, an agricultural official in Fukushima.

“Killing animals is the very last resort,” he said.

Mon lays an egg on my friend

Mon-chan was playing with my friend in the next room when I heard him cry out in surprise. I ran to the room and, as you can see, Mon laid an egg right on him!


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