3/15 Earthquake Update03.15.11

By tonight, all four reactors at the Fukushima #1 power plant are having serious problems. Explosions, fires, failures of back up safety systems: two reactors are missing their outer housings, and the others have leaks in their inner housings which are supposed to contain radiation. It’s unclear whether containment will be successful…on any of them. I’ll let the news fill you in on levels of iodine, radiation, etc. Suffice to say that 220, 000 people in the vicinity of the reactors have been instructed to either evacuate, or stay within in their houses with windows closed and fans off. We here in Tokyo are in no imminent danger at this point, but levels were several times higher than normal. The neighbor kids played outside with hoods on- I can’t convince my kids to wear hoods yet, but my oldest is following the news carefully in both Japanese and English and is quickly becoming conversant in nuclear power plants.

Human interest stories are beginning to show up on the news: survival after being swept away by a tsunami, generosity in the midst of loss, unexpected tales of loss and being found. A few children’s TV programs have returned, but the basic channels are all devoted to events unfolding. The absence of ads on TV is refreshing. In their place are carefully crafted reminders to encourage people to show kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, and forgiveness to one another.

Transportation is a mess. Gasoline is all but unavailable, trains are stopped or running behind schedule. The government is asking people to stay home unless they have pressing business. Rolling blackouts have been instituted in the Kanto area, but our area has been exempt so far. It is still unclear whether this is due to lack of organization or other reasons. I enjoyed an unexpected hot dinner today, and ate it with mixed feelings. One friend in Gunma wrote on her facebook page that during the blackout they lit a candle, her father played the guitar and they sang praise songs. Blackouts can have a bright side. Stripping away the trappings of our lives shows what’s real.

School is cancelled all week for our kids (but thankfully there will be library hours), and the local Japanese elementary will only meet in the mornings. Power outages and food shortages affect food preparation, classrooms, and plumbing. Several families from our kids’ school have already decided to leave the country, and others have decided to relocate farther from the action. As I go to sleep I wonder whether the radiation leak will be more contained or less when I wake up. Last night I even woke up at 3:00 and checked the news.

Several acquaintances spent the day volunteering with CRASH, a group of Christians working together with existing/surviving churches to raise funds, assess damage and aid in relief work. It’s still a little unclear how this will connect with governmentally organized relief work, but there is no doubt work for many to do for years to come. (As I wrote this last paragraph, there was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake centered southwest of us, but no serious damage…) I’m thankful for peace in the midst of unpeace.

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

11 Responses to “3/15 Earthquake Update”

  1. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for keeping up with the posting…..I am thinking and praying for you and the country as the news keeps coming….

    Our trip is postponed – I don’t have new dates yet.


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    Posted by Katherine P. on 12/13/09 March 15th, 2011 at 11:19 PMReply

  2. Thanks for keeping us updated step by step. Praying for God’s continued peace to touch your household in the midst of this chaos.Sending love and prayers your way.

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    Posted by LInda on 12/13/09 March 15th, 2011 at 11:23 PMReply

  3. I was awake, praying for Japan, at 4 a.m. Thank you for your daily updates. News of the reactors is frightening. Officials in the U.S. are questioning the use of nuclear power!
    I loved that you were planting flowers on a sunny day.
    I’m praying for wisdom as we engage in conversation with neighbors, etc. – WHY would a good God allow such a tragic event?
    Tim’s cousin Chuck wrote a good article -did you get it?

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    Posted by Arleen Johnson on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 12:43 AMReply

  4. I just want you to know that I am praying for your family back here in Minnesota.

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    Posted by renee on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 1:14 AMReply

  5. This time must be very stressful for you and Tim as missionaries and parents, and friend and neighbors of Japan. Your writings carefully and sensitively not only express the details of the crisis but the heart of it as well. Peace in the midst of this time is a testament to your faith and love in Spirit. I know it is bringing peace to all in your midst.

    You are so loved by me!


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    Posted by Julie on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 3:18 AMReply

  6. My dear friend Eva Sullivan-Knoff shared your blog with me. I’m delighted. I was a short termer in Nagaoka from 87-89 and still carry part of Japan in my heart. Your writing is wonderful and gives me specifics to pray for. You are still in Gunma where the Carlsons were??
    There are many people around the globe continuing to pray as you all walk thru…
    Dawn (Friend) Langjahr

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    Posted by Dawn Langjahr on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 3:48 AMReply

    • Dawn, I remember you. People you love have been shaken by a lot of earthquakes in the last few years. Thanks for your gift of two years of love and service in Japan.

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      Posted by Andrea Johnson on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 1:58 PMReply

  7. We are praying. Thank you for your blog. I will pass this blog address on to others at church.

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    Posted by Bonnie Hedman on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 8:29 AMReply

  8. So thankful to hear that you are feeling peace. That has been my prayer as I hear of all the uncertainty there for you.

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    Posted by Ronna on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 8:39 AMReply

  9. While I enjoy your regular posts so much, I am grateful for this means of keeping updated on your family. Thank you for doing this in spite of all the chaos around you at this time. Thanking God for all the ways he’ll be using you in this crisis…

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    Posted by Amy Cornell on 12/13/09 March 16th, 2011 at 12:16 PMReply

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