The debacles:

Monday has revealed yet more of the damage to the world, with the horrifying images of Minami-sanriku reaching the masses. The official death toll as of now is roughly 1,600, but as reports of 2,000 bodies found along the coast of Miyagi prefecture flow in and as SAR teams reveal yet more death this is expected to rise dramatically. One wonders how these people spent the last minutes of their lives…

Yet another explosion has rocked the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, but thankfully the containment chambers remain intact. Also, Reactor #2’s cooling systems have failed, exposing radioactive rods and possibly causing a partial meltdown, which is immensely worrying for many nearby. Several people being scanned showed traces of radiation but is reported not to be in harmful amounts. By the looks of things, this should be less destructive than the Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents, JAEA reports.

Still, this has global repercussions. In Europe, people are protesting against the use of nuclear power, particularly in Germany and France; Indonesia wants them, which I think is absurd, considering its proximity to fault lines as well as quality concerns which are likely to compromise such plants. Worse still for me, being in Singapore puts me in the line of fire should any Indo reactors spew radiation. No, Indonesia. NO.

Also I’ve been receiving SMSes regarding risk of radioactive rain in S’pore and as of now even a drizzle can cause cancer. The idea is there, and it is possible, but there is a flaw. Radiation is somewhat localised in northeast Japan still, and even then the levels are mild. Furthermore, one must look at wind patterns and see whether it actually puts us in the firing line. Still it’s worthy of note that radiation can travel thousands of miles, vis-a-vis Chernobyl, which swept radiation through Western USSR and basically the whole of Europe, so distance is not likely a factor.

Also, Japan experiences the 1st blackout in half a century, leaving many out of power, as well as supplies, as reaching stricken areas is still a monumental task. I guess even for a country as well prepared as Japan, there are some things that simply cannot be overcome…

Now, the miracle(s):

Rescue efforts are stepping up and many tens of thousands have since been saved, and one particular example shows the tenacity of the Japanese people. An elderly man, swept 9 miles to sea by the tsunami, managed to stay on his home’s roof and was eventually picked up, safe and sound. For that I am happy. 🙂

International aid is also picking up; the USS Ronald Reagan, along with the US 7th Fleet it has travelled to Japan to send aid. The US is just one of many countries providing or pledging aid. The world in such turbulent times seems ever willing to help others in need. Even individuals at home can help: in Singapore the Red Cross can be contacted through 6334 9152 / 6334 9153 / 6334 9154.

It’s approaching the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Looks like 2011 is to be a year truly to remember…for all the wrong reasons.

I have  a piece of music to share, one that is utterly stirring. It’s Secret Garden’s Song from a Secret Garden. I think the piece can speak for itself.

Goodnight, world.

And goodnight, Japan. ~