Courtesy of alice.d (CC 2.0)
The Kanto region of Tokyo continues to experience planned blackouts. Conflicts are brewing between organizations and institutions regarding how they should continue their activities in light of such electricity problems. An example is the baseball industry. The baseball season is starting again in Japan. After the disaster, although Pacific League decided that they will postpone the season opening to April 12th instead of March 25th, but the Central League will start as it had been planned. This means that a game between Giants and Bay Stars will be held in Tokyo Dome (home of the Yomiuri Giants) on the 25th. It is an in-door stadium with 55,000 seats, requiring some 50,000 to 60,000 kilowatts of electricity on a game day. To put this number into perspective, it equals the amount of electricity needed by approximately 6,000 households.
The Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, Banri Kaieda, told the Yomiuri Giants that it would be helpful
if the team could have a game elsewhere far from the Kanto area so it doesn't stretch the demands of electricity.
Moreover, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology requested that Nippon Professional
Baseball (NPB) to refrain from night games within the areas that have a shortage of electricity. Even the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association requested a NPB postponement or at least reconsideration of holding night games.
Despite these objections, the two teams decided to have the game as planned. It's unclear what effect this would have on the fans - on the one hand many people may welcome the respite provided by the professional ball players, on the other hand many may resent the seemingly wanton use of electricity during a crisis.
This little town in the Miyagi prefecture numbering some 17,500 residents in 2008 was entirely destroyed by the great quake and subsequent tsunami. The latest reports indicate that 5,000 have died and some 9,000 residents remain missing - many are presumed dead. In short, an unbelievable 80% of the town has seemingly perished. The survivors are now in neighboring towns in shelters and refugee centers. Most are living inside school gymnasiums and other public buildings, lacking running water, electricity, and basic food supplies. The flu is also running rampant in these tight quarters, a disease that the youthful shrug off but is deadly to the elderly. Local resources are being stretched tight by the refugee situation suggesting a continuing urgency in humanitarian operations.
1.4 million people are estimated to be without access to clean water - NHK gave some tips on how to use rain water to survive. People called in to ask the television channel what they should do if they can't flush toilets.
Latest figures show the death toll at ~3600, missing ~7700, and refugees ~400,000.
There's a lot of attention being paid to the nuclear crisis, for better or worse, it's detracting from the immediate needs of people in the affected area. Only so much cognitive capacity to absorb this information.
The most current estimates of the toll give over 3000 dead, 6000 missing, and 300,000 displaced refugees. The tsunami seems to be washing bodies back onto land where they are just being discovered. Many think that the high number of missing people is because they've been washed out to sea. The refugees are facing a crisis in not only food and water, but because of a large fraction of elderly, also medical equipment and materials such as dialysis supplies, pain killers, insulin, basically things for all sorts of chronic illnesses.
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Basic website has been set up with the main page being the list of humanitarian agencies who are accepting donations and have the capacity to conduct work on the ground (except Global Giving).