Disasters: real or anticipated?

There has been a disaster. Hundreds of miles of a highly populated coastline (Aol News) were inundated by a wall of water and entire towns reduced to mud flats and debris fields. Thousands dead and missing. But what has a large portion of the headlines? The forty year old power plant that was about to be decommissioned that was near the epicenter of the disaster.

What makes it a special fear is that it is a nuclear power plant. It survived the disaster and appears be only a minor risk as far as the radiation fears go, but that would be hard to determine from the headlines and news stories. From them, it appears that the risk of a ‘nuclear meltdown’ is on a par – or worse – than the thousands who have already suffered from the natural disaster.

In the town of Minamisanrikucho, 10,000 people – nearly two-thirds of the population – have not been heard from since the tsunami wiped it out, a government spokesman said. NHK showed only a couple concrete structures still standing, and the bottom three floors of those buildings gutted. One of the few buildings standing was a hospital, and a worker told NHK hospital staff rescued about a third of the patients in the facility.

Right now, the task is survival. With so much wiped out, there are people who do not have access to food and water or other basic needs. They are desperate for rescue. But the media focus is on the possibility of radiation exposure on par with a routine medical test. There are lessons here.

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