Via Dolores M. Bernal's News Junkie Post,
The US Embassy in Tokyo has officially announced that it will start evacuating American citizens and their families off Japan starting on Thursday, local Japan time. The Department of State cited the "deteriorating" nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant as the reason to take Americans to "safehaven."
The safehaven locations so far are in Korea and China — Seoul and Taipei respectively. Citizens wishing to go back to the US will have to make their own arrangement from these locations.
An updated item from the US Embassy site in Tokyo provides the following information:
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo informs U.S. citizens in Japan who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Asia. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on US government-arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safehaven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Japan on Thursday, March 17. There will be a limited number of seats available on evacuation flights departing from Narita and Haneda airports on March 17. Priority will be given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions.
Persons interested in departing Japan via USG-chartered transportation should proceed to Narita and Haneda airports or contact the US Department of State and Embassy Japan by sending an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling 1-202-501-4444. Please provide the following information:
- place of birth
- U.S. passport number, and
- any special medical needs.
Immediate family members (spouses and children) who are not U.S. citizens must be documented for entry into the safehaven country and/or U.S., if that is your final destination.
We hope that the ongoing situation in Japan can be resolved quickly, preventing further damage and destruction in a nation already reeling from a series of tragic events.
If you can provide any assistance, please do so. There's an excellent list of organizations put together by Lili Ladaga from Yahoo! News. The list there provides some details in a description about giving. In order to get the list of organizations out to the public with the donation links intact, I've listed the organizations directly below, using the links provided by Lili @ Yahoo - so you'll notice that any click-thru tracking credits Yahoo! with the source ID. That's a good thing. Still, check out their original source material for more information, and do what you can to help:
Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2011-03-14 04:37:12 -0400. -- GH
The Japanese disaster at Fukushima I is a human tragedy of striking proportions. As many as ten thousand citizens may be dead in the general catastrophe, with many more at risk for radiation poisoning at levels yet to be determined. The fact that Japan is a highly organized and wealthy nation in no way diminishes the intensity of the losses and pain experienced by the victims. (Image)
Political and economic implications will emerge rapidly. As the whole world watches, the Japanese experience creates windows of opportunity to learn how to avert future meltdowns at nuclear ticking time bombs placed throughout Europe, the United States, India, and China.
Events have overwhelmed the highly professional Japanese bureaucracy. In a late Saturday night report by CNN, the chief cabinet minister said that he presumed that there was a nuclear meltdown in reactors one and two, with three on the way. A nuclear regulatory official hedged by referring to the "possibility" of a meltdown, which he said could not be confirmed since workers couldn't get close enough to see. The same regulatory official told CNN,
"We have some confidence, to some extent, to make the situation to be stable status," he said. "We actually have very good confidence that we will resolve this." March 12
Experts outside the government referred to the situation as desperate given the use of saltwater as a last resort for cooling the nuclear material.
Video from May 7th (4 days ago) flyover of Gulf of Mexico and location of sunken Deepwater Horizon courtesy, Current TV. Amateur Video Of Gulf Oil Slick - Worse Than BP Admits Transcript follows :
On May 7 2010, John Wathen and Pilot Tom Hutchins flew out over the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way we saw small boats dragging buoys out to the islands to protect them from the oil sheen that was certainly coming our way. At nine miles out we began to smell the oil.
When the story of the mine collapse Tragedy in West Virginia was breaking I was reluctant to start pointing fingers out of the gate and start making ideological and political arguments climbing on the backs of the dead miners even given the initial and legitimate reportage of problems from all sources, blogospheric and media wide. But there comes a point where we have to look at what was behind the disaster that happened. And at this point it is pretty clear that Massey has been negligent with miner's lives when it comes to safety issues in the past:
Washington (CNN) -- A temporary protected status for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of Tuesday has been designated by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, she announced Friday.
"This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months," she said.
The disaster recovery is ongoing.
This is an Open Thread.
California is one of the largest states in our nation, and is also one of the most diverse: it spans several terrestrial ecoregions, contains everything from mountains to deserts with coastlines and even inland saltwater seas, and has a vast and vibrant smattering of cultural influences.
It's also a state of chaos, which could be ascribed (if you squint a little) the title "State of Apocalypse" because it has major fires, vast floods, devastating earthquakes, mudslides, sinkholes, fiscal disaster, a history of severe weather and it is governed by an actor and businessman most famous for his role as the Terminator.
The "State of Apocalypse" nomenclature occurred to me during an idle chat with our webmistress after I'd pointed out this doozy from CNN:
L.A. firefighters escape as truck sinks into hole
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles firefighters and city crews worked for several hours Tuesday to rescue one of their own: a 22-ton firetruck that was nearly swallowed by a water-logged sinkhole.
[...story continues at link in title...]
If you click through to the original story, you'll see the firetruck with its nose in the sinkhole, looking eerily reminiscent of a child's Tonka truck abandoned on a playground.
No offense to the folks in CA -- and many of my friends are included over there -- but I think I'll just stay hunkered down in my New England habitat for a much smaller slice of the Disaster Pie.
"Imagined" is apparently the key word with the TVA, btw. This does not surprise me, unfortunately. What DOES surprise me is that there has been no real media coverage on what may be the very worst man-made environmental disaster in this country, ever.
Water testing by Appalachian State University is showing 35-300 ppm more arsenic and 6-60 ppm more lead than the EPA water drinking standards. What has not been discussed is that coal ash is radioactive, and at this point I have not found any evidence that measurements of uranium or thorium are being monitored. Let's try and change that!
This is worse than the Exxon Valdez, which is still not cleaned up, and I submit this is worse than Katrina, though it doesn't look that way yet, but the health and environmental devastation that will follow from this is not even conceivable at this point. I consider Katrina a man made environmental disaster because we could have saved the levees. Katrina was horrible. But so is this.
I will get to the radioactive issue in a moment, but today a test of the water quality from the Emory River was released from the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry labs at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, by Dr. Shea Tuberty, Associate Professor of Biology, and Dr. Carol Babyak, Assistant Professor of Chemistry.
Sometimes, it's hard to start the day off with a bit of sunshine.
Typhoon Fengshen Sinks Princess of Stars,
700-plus Missing, Presumed Dead
Bad news from the Philippines, via Reuters:
Philippine ferry sinks; 700-plus passengers missing
By Manny Mogato and Rosemarie Francisco, Sun Jun 22, 2008 5:41am EDT
MANILA, June 22 (Reuters) - Rescuers braved rough seas on Sunday searching for survivors of a Philippine ferry that capsized with more than 700 passengers and crew during a typhoon that has killed scores and left a trail of destruction.
So far, only four people are known to have survived and they said many passengers did not make it off the MV Princess of Stars in time.
Click the link before the excerpt for the full story.
"Though the weather outside is frightful..."
The news of the disaster in the Philippines comes right on the back of this piece, which in and of itself isn't exactly full of warmth and promise:
Extreme floods, storms seen increasing in North America
Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by Chris Wilson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Floods, droughts and severe storms are likely to ravage North America more frequently as emissions of planet-warming gases rise, according to a U.S. government study.
Extreme weather events, "could seriously affect" human health, agricultural production, and the availability and quality of water in the future, according to the report, issued by the Climate Change Science Program on Thursday.
Click the link before the excerpt for the full story.
Looking Back At Prior Dire Predictions and Misconstrued News
With all this hullabaloo, it calls to mind an interesting story from the 2004 timeframe -- two stories, in fact.
- From The Observer:
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
by Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York, The Observer, Sunday February 22, 2004
The piece tells of a March 2003 report commissioned by the Pentagon to study to worst-case potentials of Climate Change / global warming, and created quite a stir when news of the report got out. But the news may have been misconstrued.
- From the The San Francisco Chronicle:
Pentagon-sponsored climate report sparks hullabaloo in Europe
But new ice age unlikely, Bay Area authors of study say
by Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer, Wednesday, February 25, 2004
All that Schwartz and Randall did was to investigate the "worst-case" possible events, those that are highly unlikely to happen but, if they did happen, would be catastrophic, especially in their impacts on U.S. military operations -- "low probability, high impact" events, as they are known in the futurological world.
It isn't even a Pentagon report in the strict sense of the word. It does not constitute an official DOD position paper or policy statement, conducted by scientists and military experts. Rather, all the work was done by Schwartz and Randall -- neither of whom is an atmospheric scientist -- based on their review of what real atmospheric scientists have done.
Well, it's good thing we got all that settled. We wouldn't want to leave people thinking that things could get much worse.
This is an Open Thread.