Updated Figures on Crisis in Japan

1 am MT: The Kyodo News Agency reports more than 2,000 people have died or are unaccounted for. In Minamisanriku, a town in Miyagi with 10,000 people, more than 5,000 people are unaccounted for. The police chief thinks the toll in Miyagi could exceed 10,000. Hundreds of bodies have been found under rubble. In one town hit by the Tsunami, the town hall and a nursing home were swept out to sea. Neither the mayor nor the elderly patients have been heard from.

20,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed and more than 300,000 in six perfectures have been evacuated. The power outages may last weeks. The LA Times has some descriptive photos of the destruction here. For this family, it's like watching a scene from that new show Waking Dead. What an awful shock. One day life is fine, the next day it's gone. These picture pretty well capture the extent of the property damage in that area.

At least 160 people have been tested for radiation exposure from the nuclear reactors. Six reactors have now failed or are in danger of failing.


An additional reactor was added to the list early Sunday, for a total of six — three at the Dai-ichi complex and three at another nearby complex. A second explosion is now expected at the building housing the third reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.. Local evacuations have been ordered at each location. Japan has a total of 55 reactors spread across 17 complexes nationwide.[More...]

Advice for those near the reactors:

Public broadcaster NHK flashed instructions to evacuees to close doors and windows, switch off air-conditioning fans and place wet towels over the nose and mouth, as well as to cover up as much as possible.

The effects of radiation:

Severe exposure to radiation causes damage to organ tissue and raises the likelihood of developing cancer, tumours and causing genetic damage. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and hair loss and severe exposure causes death in 50 percent of cases.

Here's the explanation for the failure of the third reactor yesterday.

As for what caused the earthquake and Tsunamim the New York Times has a report saying it was "Shifting Plates."

On a positive note, soldiers rescued 5,800 people in the Miyagi town of Kesennuma. Japan is trying hard and 95 other countries have offered their assistance.

If you've found any reputable relief agencies to accept your donations, please put them in comments. And thnnk good thoughts for Japan and the Japanese. This is going to require long-term rebuilding.

For those whose homes and workplaces were destroyed, how about if other countries give visas to those affected who have relatives in the donor country. It might relieve additional burden from Japan, and at least keep families unified.

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    A few options (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by richj25 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:13:32 AM EST
    The Red Cross has a button up at Amazon.com.
    GlobalGiving, Doctors without borders, MercyCorps,
    Save the children. I'm sure there are more but this is a start,

    What strikes me is the wide extent (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 07:25:59 AM EST
    or the horrible damage. Town after town after town destroyed. Looking at those pictures, if it all happened in one place it would be horrible enough. But the pictures are from at least five or six towns, all covered with debris and mud. Incomprehensible.

    If they cannot prevent (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:25:45 PM EST
    multiple melt-downs in their severely damaged nuclear reactors, it could get even worse, unfortunately.  It's probably not the wisest idea to have nuclear reactors sitting on top of major, unstable fault lines (which pretty much includes most, if not all, of the Ring of Fire on the Pacific Rim).  I truly hope and pray that the reactors do not melt down.  The Japanese people have enough to deal with.  

    San Onofre in Southern California (none / 0) (#25)
    by Dadler on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:04:47 PM EST
    Comes to mind. Always made me nervous while I lived there, especially when we'd get a quake or one of these tsunami warnings hit.  Now I'm north, however, and so very safe.  Yes, you must trek for an entire half mile up the hill from my house to stand at the southern end of San Andreas Lake (LINK), which sits right on top of its namesake fault.  Sigh.

    I actually checked fault lines (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:17:24 PM EST
    before I moved back :P

    didn't think about tsunami activity though. . . .


    Given how well-prepared Japan (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 08:47:29 AM EST
    supposedly was, I get the sinking feeling that this is the kind of disaster you simply can't prepare adequately for.

    I was watching a discussion (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 12:51:31 PM EST
    of their economic reality.  We are on the Japan road too, we have applied a lot of the same solutions to our economic insolvency that Japan used.

    An economist was discussing how difficult it is going to be for Japan to repair and rebuild because it was so insolvent and made their economy so weak.  He was saying that Japan must encourage immigration, but if you have visited you know that every square inch of earth in Japan is working to sustain the existing population.  Somehow the world must break free from these economists who keep trying to sell us an economy based on ponzi schemes of over population....creating demand by creating too many mouths to feed.

    IMmigration? (none / 0) (#13)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 01:44:23 PM EST
    Seriously?  That is some messed up analysis.

    I thought so too (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 01:50:04 PM EST
    There's so much damage to overcome and all that the economists trying to keep genies in bottles can think about is that Japan needs some immigration.

    Emigration (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:09:42 PM EST
    is what I was referring to, not immigration into Japan. So people in Japan could go elsewhere if it becomes too dangerous to stay there.

    That's how I read your comments (none / 0) (#19)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:17:27 PM EST
    And it sounds a compassionate and reasonable policy that would be fairly easy to implement.  I think it's a most excellent idea.

    My incredulity was at the analysis MT was relating.


    Yes, immigration (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:30:44 PM EST
    This probably isn't the place to discuss the issue, but Japan needs to get past it's nativism and welcome immigrants.

    It seems to me though (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:01:04 PM EST
    that nativism developes naturally when resources are too stretched.  In Japan, just like South Korea...every inch of earth is used to support the existing population.  Sometimes people think that simply because you can find farmland, that means more people can be pushed in.  But the farmland is feeding the mouths in the cities.  I believe that Japan suffers the nativism that it does due to overpopulation.  And it bothers me that some people insist that populations must continue to grow in order to grow a larger and larger tax base.  It isn't sustainable.  I think we must learn to grow different economies or suffer the destruction of the world's resources that can't be repaired.

    Malthus hasn't been right yet (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:06:38 PM EST
    Somehow I'm pretty sure (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 05:51:40 PM EST
    that the kids growing up as throw aways in our great American foster child system would disagree with you as well as many starving children on the African continent.

    I kind of agree with you both (none / 0) (#34)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 06:58:40 PM EST
    I mean I don't agree with the unilateral statement that andgarden made, but the thing is there are enough resources (so far) on this great blue planet to feed its inhabitants.  As with so many other resources, it's not being distributed for political, economic and logistical reasons.  Are there statistics on how much rots in silos?  I don't think so, I just went looking for information, and it's referred to, but not reported on.

    I went to a lecture once where the lecturer declared that the true heresy -- the true crime against God -- is that there people are starving in this world of plenty.  I don't recall a word of the rest of the lecture, but I can't tell you how often I've thought of that and I cannot disagree.

    Regardless of religious beliefs, I think we need to really grok that idea.


    One political reason (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 08:26:27 PM EST
    why the resources aren't getting to all of the people: nativist immigration policies.

    I'm going to have to have you (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 10:39:45 PM EST
    elaborate on that one before I can bite.

    Think about how it works (none / 0) (#45)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 05:44:00 AM EST
    in our country. There are people who lobby every day for the proposition that we need to build a massive fence to keep those people from coming to take our jobs. What it amounts to is that we are inherently better than them because we live north of a magic line in the sand that makes us, us and them, them.

    Think about that for a minute: in the advanced world we deny people from the third world more rapid development (and access to our abundant food supplies) because we are inherently better and/or more worthy people.


    This comment seems confused to me. (none / 0) (#48)
    by observed on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:31:01 AM EST
    The US exports a great deal of food. In what way are nativist positions preventing the third world from eating our food?
    Are you talking about trade barriers which prevent countries from selling to the 1st world, thereby gaining money to buy food?
    Even so, isn't the issue more about getting countries better able to feed themselves?
    I find the example of Japan admirable in this regard, no matter what economists say.

    If individuals from the third world (none / 0) (#49)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:50:18 AM EST
    were able to work in the first world, they would be better able to buy food. We generally deny them the opportunity.

    Can't argue with that. (none / 0) (#50)
    by observed on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:20:46 AM EST
    In making this argument (none / 0) (#52)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:33:36 AM EST
    Don't forget to account for those here who are unable to buy healthful food.  Google "urban food desert".  Those immigrating would likely often settle in the same sorts of areas.

    It's relative (none / 0) (#56)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:46:11 AM EST
    Even the worst ghetto in, say, New York, has access to safe, clean, drinking water.

    Our poor people can have it pretty bad, but there are places in the world that are far worse. I'd sure rather live in the South Bronx than in a tent village in Haiti, for example.


    That may be true (none / 0) (#57)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:22:17 AM EST
    about the worst ghetto in New York and drinking water.  But it is patently not true about all too many poor rural areas.

    We can pick specific nits all day, but I'm just saying that the problem of distribution is not limited to third world countries.

    Desperate immigrants would likely do just what Paul Simon said so many years ago:

    Seeking out the poorer quarters
    Where the ragged people go,
    Looking for the places
    Only they would know.

    There are people lobbying for the fence yes (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:23:14 AM EST
    But people here did not start calling law enforcement and getting a response on working undocumented until the 2008 financial crisis.  Every housing development that was going up here in this community had many undocumented workers working in it.  Sadly, the first "group or self identified community" to complain about so many undocumented workers in this area were some laborers around the Atlanta GA area who self identified themselves as African Americans and who went on the record in the local paper saying that the undocumented were taking THEIR jobs.  It was one identified American minority fighting another one around here, and that was because resources were scarce.

    I think racism and nativism plays small roles at times, but the power of scarce resources in my experience truly drives the debate that the others must go that politicians cannot ignore or simply give lip service to and move along.

    Of course we had sadly older folks around here complaining constantly about all the undocumented workers prior to 2008 and it seemed very obvious to me that was all race motivated.  And I experienced it in my usual "the South and its racism sucks and I hate it" sort of way.  But law enforcement ignored the complaints until the economy went to hell here.


    Wow, when you get on a tear (none / 0) (#37)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 09:28:50 PM EST
    you just don't let it go.  I don't know what kind of law you want to practice but I'd sure want you for my advocate.

    Thanks! (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 09:44:48 PM EST
    At first brush, I read a not in your comment.

    Nope (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 12:09:07 AM EST
    No "not" in that comment :)

    I can't let that comment go; I think you are (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by observed on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:26:46 AM EST
    wrong. Malthus has been proved right, over and over again in human history, just not on a global scale. Resource depletion and overpopulation have ended many civilizations. Furthermore, there is plenty of animal experimentation showing how populations crash, not to mention the deleterious psycho-social effects of overcrowding.

    Malthus aside, are you seriously suggesting that Japan turn over farmland to development, to support immigrant populations?


    Or, up the birth rate, which is quite low. (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:44:08 PM EST
    Young women aren't anxious to assume the traditional role of wife and mother.  She also becomes responsible for the care of his parents.

    Well, the attitude (none / 0) (#28)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 03:33:05 PM EST
    towards non-Japanese is another story.  And I'm more or less an open-borders kind of person so to that extent I agree with you.

    But as MT has pointed out, sustaining the current population is huge national effort.


    Thank you Tracy for telling it (none / 0) (#61)
    by hairspray on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:38:36 AM EST
    like it is.  The popular culture is all about the celebs and their baby bumps, etc.  Having kids is so glamorized that people who can barely rub two nickels together are unthinkingly rushing into parenthood.  
    At least the Japanese have small families.  In fact I recently read that some of the "ruling class" were trying to find ways for the young Japanese women who aren't having ANY children to get with the program.  If negative population continues who will support the elders they moan.  Talk about a ponzi scheme.

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by SOS on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 01:20:48 PM EST
    that with all our internet communications "technology" you can't get credible information and facts in a fast and timely manner.

    It's also ironic the Nuke Plants that produce cheap electricity are sitting there in crisis stage because they don't have electricity.

    The Techno Triumphalist's have been awful quiet also. Obviously you can't twitter relief supplies from your phone or blackberry.

    Ancient reactors (none / 0) (#22)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:34:35 PM EST
    and a disaster that I sense one simply can't plan for.

    Not exactly true. We can plan (none / 0) (#30)
    by caseyOR on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:35:53 PM EST
    for these worst-case scenarios, but sadly we generally choose not to. Everyone who lives in the Ring of Fire knows that a big one is coming. We don't know when it's coming, but we know it is definitely coming. So there is no good excuse for not planning for that worst case.

    Instead, though, governments set rules based, in large part (too large a part) on the immediate cost of building to withstand a quake. So, instead of enacting building codes and power plant siting regulations geared to a 9.0 quake, we decide that we are willing to spend only enough to get through say, an 8.2 quake, all the while hoping that the giant 9.0 doesn't happen on our watch.

    As always, it's all about the Benjamins.


    The earthquake did not do in the plants. (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by redwolf on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 05:33:14 PM EST
    It's actually the tsunami that did the plants in.  All the fall safe stuff for the earthquake appears to have worked, but when the water came in 20 minutes later it destroyed the generators and screwed up the cool down system.  Considering that these are 40+ year old plants we should be happy that they were not just knocked over by the wave.  A newer plant would have much fewer risks than this design.

    There are better much better designs for plants that don't require cooling if the plant gets out of control.

    One example:

    I do agree that we need to get this older plants shut down and replaced with newer and safer designs.


    Thorium ones? (none / 0) (#35)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 07:33:41 PM EST
    The "green" nuke? No risk of meltdown?

    One downside--we can't make weapons that can destroy the World many, many times over with Thorium reactors--and really what fun is that.  

    Weinberg and his men proved the efficacy of thorium reactors in hundreds of tests at Oak Ridge from the '50s through the early '70s. But thorium hit a dead end. Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US government in the '60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors -- in part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great what-if technologies of the 20th century.

    No, not just the thoruim ones.... (none / 0) (#38)
    by redwolf on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 09:44:02 PM EST
    The thorium reactor was just one of many of the newer designed nuke plants out there that automatically cool down with loss of control.  It's the older plants that are huge danger from earthquakes using a modern design will eliminate many of the risks of these light water plants.

    The (none / 0) (#33)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 06:51:30 PM EST
    best live reporting I saw was on al-Jazeera english.

    al-Jazeera english


    The damage is (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by sj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 01:53:32 PM EST
    so deep and so broad as to be incomprehensible.  As devastating as these pictures are, I know that pictures can never do it justice.  You can get snapshots but never scope.

    I second Doctors without Borders, but I'm concerned about the Red Cross, they failed in a big way post Katrina.  I've been distrustful of them ever since.  They seem to be really good at the blood donation aspect, not so good at boots on the ground.  I truly hope I'm wrong and that they can step up because I held them in such high esteem before.

    I give every year (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:14:15 PM EST
    to Doctors Without Borders.  I haven't given to the Red Cross for years, for just the reason you stated.

    The destruction (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by chrisvee on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 05:12:49 PM EST
    & suffering are incomprehensible.  There are no words.

    The silver lining (none / 0) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 05:16:18 AM EST
    "The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.".

    Larry Kudlow

    Can you believe it?

    In case (none / 0) (#6)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 08:40:42 AM EST
    you don't believe it, (I didn't) here is a link to Kudlow making this incredible statement:

    Kudlow being grateful

    Additionally, there is no negative response from the co-hosts of this tribute to the morality of capitalism.


    Can I believe it? (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 09:32:51 AM EST
    Sure. IMO it is his honest opinion and an example of how many of our betters evaluate every situation.

    Just Kudlow being Kudlow (none / 0) (#9)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 10:00:11 AM EST
    Lehman Brothers and the US Economy wouldn't be where they are today or where it was on 9/16/08 without him.

    He's basically a (none / 0) (#17)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 02:12:09 PM EST
    supply-side economist who does not believe in estate taxes and is against most forms of government regulation so, disgusting as his opinion is, yes, I can believe he said it and that he believes it.

    And in what alternate reality (none / 0) (#11)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 01:03:46 PM EST
    was this discussion broadcast?

    The kid fell off his bike, fractured his skull and he's out cold, bleedin' on the side of the road.

    Ya really gonna take this opportunity to comparison shop as to which ambulance service will take him to what emergency room in the interest of fiscal prudence?

    What would newt do?

    National Geological Survey (none / 0) (#29)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 04:28:45 PM EST
    Reports many, very strong aftershocks:

    There have been hundreds of aftershocks following the devastating magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck off the East Coast of Japan on March 11. More than two dozen are greater than magnitude 6, the size of the earthquake that severely damaged Christchurch, NZ last month.

    Just saw the Ed Show in which he announced (none / 0) (#62)
    by hairspray on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:46:31 AM EST
    that the budget reconciliation bill working its way through congress has big cuts in the national geographic agencies. Now we can give out the information that Lamar Alexamder gave out today on the Senate floor about levels of radiation.  In his haste to downplay any negative nuclear information he completely mixed up his facts about radiation levels to the benefit of the naysayers of course.  Pretty sad that he didn't even understand it.

    People are hoarding (none / 0) (#43)
    by weltec2 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 04:42:45 AM EST
    I was in Tokyo during the earthquake. With the trains out, it took me two hours to walk home. I'm in Yamanashi right now. I just came from a hardware store, a drug store, and a market... a great waste of energy since almost everything I was looking for was gone. I bought the last propane stove available in case the electricity went out again. But people had hoarded all the canisters necessary to use it. After the earthquake the electricity was out for 3 hours out here so my water heater was out when I arrived.

    Hoarding: I saw one man with his shipping cart filled higher than his head with toilet paper. Now seriously, what is he going to do with all that. He can't possibly eat it.

    My wife told me on the phone this morning that there is gas rationing in Tokyo with a limit of 20 liters per vehicle. With the trains out of operation, people are in a terrible bind. I drove past a gas station advertising 150 yen per liter for regular.

    Thanks for sharing your experience (none / 0) (#44)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 05:36:29 AM EST
    For the peanut gallery, that works out to a little less than $7/U.S. gallon. I think that's about what they pay on an ordinary basis in the U.K.

    You're quite right (none / 0) (#46)
    by weltec2 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 07:26:06 AM EST
    We've had it easy for a long time when it comes to gas and oil prices. There are protocols of common decency that exist in this country. It is not just a question of law. It's a question of honor... one's notion of one's self as a Japanese and one's duty to other Japanese. From shop to shop everyone has their lights turned down to conserve electricity. People will pull together eventually, but right now... there is a bit of panic in the air. The Japanese calm face is there... but it's thin.

    In any case (none / 0) (#60)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 05:50:23 PM EST
    I meant to tell you that I send all good thoughts your way, and I'm glad to hear from you.

    Be safe and well.


    wrt the toilet paper (none / 0) (#53)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:37:53 AM EST
    It has huge bartering potential.  At least it would if I were the one who didn't have it.

    Or it could be going to a hospital (none / 0) (#54)
    by nycstray on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:24:48 AM EST
    or some other place with many people.

    okay, that's a much (none / 0) (#55)
    by sj on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:29:56 AM EST
    better explanation.  But, for the record, if it were me on the other end of a bartering table, the TP would be a very desirable item :-\

    Just saying


    Gee, that's gotta be a first. (none / 0) (#58)
    by getoffamycloud10 on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 04:10:50 PM EST
    The situation ain't Woodstock and it ain't the summer of love. Given the circumstances, thunderdome shouldn't surprise anybody.

    Hopefully, that stuff can be kept to a minimum, but it ain't exactly unprecedented.