The situation in Hiroshima as at today is that the total number of dead now still stands at just over 70, as indicated in my previous post; there does not seem to have been any update on this. Amidst all the suffering, there are some signs of hope, even normalcy. There are reports in The Japan Times that the municipal authorities, criticized for not pre-empting this night-time disaster with timely warnings, have started to provide emergency housing and even psychiatric assistance (this from a country notoriously hesitant in recognising mental health issues) to those in need. There was also an editorial today calling on the authorities to face up to the need for disaster prevention and damage limitation in a timely manner; it seems that lessons still need learning.
More encouraging still is this article about the opportunity to volunteer on the ground by helping with the clean-up effort to get the community back on its feet. The article, which is worth reading in full, made me think that this sort of commendable thing would never be allowed to get off the ground in the UK because, despite all the talk of David Cameron’s Big Society, it would be deemed too much of a public liability risk. The straight-forward idea of ‘blowing a whistle’ to give warning of any further landslides would leave the health and safety jobsworths in the UK incredulous. What has happened in Hiroshima, and the reaction of these volunteers and their encouragement by the authorities, is an example to us all. At least my son lives amongst some good people.
‘Encouraged’ as I was the day before yesterday by the Consulate-General in Osaka, I received this update on my son from his mother at the time (UK) and on the date indicated below: