Tsunami residue

It’s likely to take 3 years for Japan to get a handle on the tsunami and earthquake residue.

Two months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the north-eastern coast of Japan, the clear-up that will last years and cost billions has finally swung into gear. Fleets of bulldozers, dumper trucks, drills and cranes are clearing the wreckage. More than 25,000 people are dead and missing. Bodies are still being recovered, but the focus of the clear-up is to remove the corpses of dead cities and towns.

It is a phenomenal engineering and waste management challenge. The government estimates it will take three years to deal with the 25m tonnes of debris, which will have to be scrapped, burnt or recycled. This includes at least 16 towns, 95,000 buildings, 23 railway stations and hundreds of kilometres of roads, railway tracks and sea walls.

Meanwhile, there are those whose focus is on the nuclear power plant and attempt to blame it for all the troubles. Japan to set up nuke plant compensation plan. It provides an example where the terror right in front of the eyes is insufficient to outweigh the terror in one’s fantasies. Rather than accept that an unprecedented earthquake and tsunami created damage that needs the focus, it is that evil nuclear thing that is the cause and should pay. Oh, my.

As if the horror isn’t bad enough. People signal when they have cleared their houses for demolition and removal to the dump. Police collecting cars and safes for people to claim. Memorabilia such as wedding albums and mementos being set aside so owners – if they are still alive – will have something. Hundreds living in school gyms where lotteries are planned for who gets the first house rebuild effort … asbestos and many other hazards to worry about yet what gets headlines and fines and worry?

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