Help reaches the North East of Japan – Published by Aftonbladet on 22/03/11

3500 volunteer will be working with Crash along Honshus Northeastern coast as long as it is needed.

Photos: Yoshi Fukuda

Aftonbladet’s team in Japan, Elin Lindqvist and Yoshi Fukuda travel through a deserted Japan.

Yesterday, smoke rose from the reactors in Fukushima again. The cooling process is not yet secured – overheating is still a risk.

Aftonbladet’s Elin Lindqvist has now left Tokyo and is travelling towards the city of Sendai that was hit by the tsunami.

It is a trip right through the dangerous zone. When they cross the security zone around Fukushima, the meter starts biping alarmingly. But help must reach those who need it.

An American military plane flew in 90 tons of food and other necessities in the end of last week for the help organization Crash to pick up and distribute. Thanks to Jonathan Wilson, crash has managed to establish five bases in the region of Sendai, three of which are situated within the 50 km radius of the Fukushima plant.

Everybody, from individuals to large companies, has donated necessities to Crash. But Jonathan is not also responsible for food to arrive to those who need it. He also has a missionary’s agenda.

Many other organisations have managed to set up camp in Sendai but the catastrophe is so big that enormous efforts are needed. And Christian organisations are quick to mobilize.

3500 volunteers will work with Crash along the North-eastern coast of Honshu for as long as it is needed. It is not possible to reach all towns as of yet. One road is blocked by a house; another one by a ship. A third one has been transformed into an open gap, Jonathan explains.

We follow Crash to the township of Kurokawa-gun North East of Sendai. In order to reach the town, we have to drive through parts of the Western security zone of 80 km around Fukushima Daiichi.

We soon become aware of the fact that there is a higher rate of radiation in the air in the said zone. As soon as we pass the city of Shirakawa, our meter starts biping and the amount of microsievert is soon to climb up. But this dose is not dangerous for human beings. The meter reaches 12 micro Sievert/hr at its highest when we are outside the town of Motomiya, about 60 km from the nuclear plant.

We are travelling up the Tohoko expressway that links the Southern parts of Honshu to its Northern parts. The motorway is for now only open to volunteer organisations, emergency vehicles and evacuee transportations. Since the earthquake, the road has been repaired in 20 odd places between Tokyo and Sendai but there is still a lot of work left to be done. A landslide is kept under control with large sandbags.

Many petrol stations along the way are closed; at others the wait is long, despite the empty motorway. Each car is allowed to buy petrol or diesel up to an equivalent of 3000 Yen, around 230 kronor, which is about 20 Litres. The prices have not gone up; it is only the delivery that is difficult.

The towns that we drive through are empty. All the shops are closed, and the homes are darkened; only one ramen noodle shop is open. People in this area do not have access to electricity and water.

When we exit the motorway; we are hit by silence. We are welcomed by miles after miles of empty cars parked in a line along the main road in Taiwa. People have left them there by the petrol station and walked home – Only to come back tomorrow morning when the petrol station opens and hopefully, be allowed to fill up.

Elin Lindqvist

If you want to find out more about Crash and see how you can help:  www.crashjapan.com

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