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"We will start anew, return to climbing, and to our normal life. I too plan some expeditions this summer but they can wait. We can return to the mountains any time, but the search for missing lives can not be put on hold."
courtesy Yusuke Hirai

Yusuke Hirai from Japan: M5 quake part of "the normal" these days

Posted: Mar 28, 2011 01:24 am EDT
(Yusuke Hirai) There is a proud collection of foreign correspondents at ExplorersWeb such Kyu Dam Lee reporting from South Korea, Karrar Haidri reporting from Pakistan and Yusuke Hirai reporting from Japan.

This morning Japanese authorities called off a tsunami advisory after another quake (6.5-magnitude) hit off the country's northeast coast. In an open letter on March 17, Hiro Takeuchi told ExplorersWeb that Japan will rise again and in this report from last week (March 21), Yusuke Hirai agrees.

Japan current: Yusuke's report

"Living in Tokyo, having a normal day like everyone, the disaster came suddenly. I was at work when on March 11, around 14:45, a small earthquake was followed by a big one.

I went around to check on the neighbors but didn't realize the size of the disaster at that point. Traffic was jammed, trains had stopped, I lost my way going home that night and stayed at my friend's house.

The earthquake still continues in Japan, and M5 class tremors have become part of "the normal". My own plan to go climbing on March 22 suddenly vanished, even though this is not the end of the world, and of course not the end of Japan.

Hoarding in Tokyo

The Japanese economy is seriously damaged. Some people in Tokyo hoard gas and supplies which is causing a problem in East Japan.

Tokyo is not seriously affected and food supplies are plentiful, but there are mostly empty shelves in the Supermarkets now, with batteries and other energy sources sold out. Meanwhile in north Japan the snowing and freezing cold affects those without shelter or heat. Some even die at evacuation.

What we need to do now is stand up, join hands and get used to this situation. Some of my friends are still missing, don't know if they are alive or not.

Radiation

We face many urgencies such as the Radiation problem from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. One of the big issues is that we don't know whom to believe. The government, media, and TEPCO change their story every day and most of the information that people want is NOT OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED.

Some have evacuated Tokyo for safer spots but most are staying home, undecided whether to leave or not. Gathering information for an article at ExplorersWeb, my friend who is a specialist in Nuclear Energy is currently checking with the proper sources and people.

The Tohoku priority

Our immediate priority is to rescue people in the Tohoku Region, the most seriously damaged place. Some have evacuated to around Tokyo but most are still there, losing their houses, losing their town, losing everything.

Those of us not from Tohoku are safe enough but we could be next. As I mentioned earlier, they are in extremely difficult conditions, thousands are still missing, and thousands more have lost their loved ones. Rescuing as many as possible is what we need to do immediately, right now.

This disaster will not prevent us from going back to the mountains. We will start anew, return to climbing, and to our normal life. I too plan some expeditions this summer but they can wait. We can return to the mountains any time, but the search for missing lives can not be put on hold.

Lastly, we want to thank especially all you people who care for us. We will stand up, look forward, and begin to get back to the normal days as quickly as possible.

Yusuke Hirai

#World #Mountaineering #topstory