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2011年3月15日 (火)

Ensure disaster victims have daily necessities

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 15, 2011)
Ensure disaster victims have daily necessities
救助と支援 被災者へ十分な生活物資を(3月14日付・読売社説)

Thousands of people are still waiting for rescue in the cold. Two days have passed since a large earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku and Kanto regions along the Pacific coast Friday afternoon. Rescue operations must proceed as quickly as possible.

Police and firefighters from across the country have been mobilized, and the government will increase the number of Self-Defense Forces personnel dispatched for rescue operations to 100,000.

Rescue teams from the United States, South Korea and Singapore, among others, went to disaster-stricken areas after arriving in Japan one after the other.

Successful rescues have been reported from various parts of the devastated areas, including evacuations by helicopter of people stranded on a building's roof and a 60-year-old man rescued by a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel after two days adrift at sea.

The death toll from the disaster is likely to top 10,000 in Miyagi Prefecture alone. Any and all means should be used to rescue as many people as possible.

We hope the authorities concerned will provide sufficient food, medicine and other necessities to people who remain stranded at their homes or who have evacuated to public facilities.

Hundreds of thousands of people are huddled together in evacuation centers throughout the area.


Food needs acute

Food equivalent to 1 million meals a day is estimated to be needed at evacuation centers alone, and there is said to be a shortage of bread and rice at such places. Not a small number of evacuation centers are finding it difficult to secure enough water, as water trucks have not yet arrived.

Emergency meal preparation service is being provided by community associations, but their powers are limited. A system for transporting daily commodities to the affected areas promptly and preferentially is urgently needed.

In addition, lifelines to areas that normally cover more than 1.5 million households in the Tohoku region and elsewhere have been cut off, as power outages continued Sunday night. Water and gas supply has also been suspended in various areas. We hope such services will be restored as quickly as possible.

Due to accidents at its nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday it would implement planned power outages from Monday in which it would suspend electricity supply to areas under its network in turns.

In implementing the plan, care should be taken so patients who are recuperating at medical institutions or at home using medical equipment are not adversely affected.


Volunteers key to recovery

From this point forward, volunteer efforts will grow in importance in the damaged areas. After the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and the 2004 Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake, various relief offered by volunteers through visits to evacuation centers and households proved incredibly helpful.

The government has appointed Kiyomi Tsujimoto--a House of Representatives member who has experience with a nonprofit organization--as adviser to the prime minister in charge of coordination of disaster volunteer activities. We want the government to unify the channels for volunteer work so aid can be dispatched efficiently to the stricken areas in line with their needs.

A great number of people certainly want to rush to the damaged areas, and campaigns to collect relief donations have already started.

After this great disaster, reconstructing a state of normalcy will most certainly be a long battle. All of us must pull together to support the recovery of the affected areas.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 14, 2011)
(2011年3月14日01時05分  読売新聞)


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