Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I'm appalled...

Ok, sure, I'm appalled at everything- but at the moment I'm most appalled at discovering that my last post here was in December....  Gad.  Sorry about that!

I have no intention of abandoning you, or this blog.  Life, however, has been consistently more difficult than seems strictly necessary for the past months, leaving us all, thee and me, both exhausted and without cheerful conversation material.

Apparently we will have to make do, conversation-wise, with non-cheerful material for a while.  Mostly.  So, girding my loins (and I recommend you gird yours also), here is some un-cheerful material from Japan today.  Japan, keep in mind, has one of the highest standards of living on the planet, ranked #5 "Best Country" in the world by this source; and scads of money, and people with time on their hands; judging from the abundance and complexity of their festivals.  But-

Nearly 5,000 people in shelters in western Japan

"More than 10 days after the catastrophic rain that hit mainly western Japan, NHK has learned that the death toll rose to 216 people, with 15 remaining missing, as of Wednesday. NHK reporters say that 4,669 people are still taking shelter at facilities in 15 prefectures.

"The health ministry says around 55,500 households in Hiroshima, Ehime and Okayama Prefectures were still without running water. Municipality staff and Self-Defense Force personnel are delivering water to communities.

"The authorities are starting to understand the damage to agriculture and forestry. The agriculture ministry officials say the financial cost to the industries has climbed to about 500 million dollars.

"Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Wednesday that Japan has received about 220,000 dollars in donations of from China, 180,000 dollars from Taiwan and 150,000 dollars from Thailand. He added other countries, regions and organizations have also expressed sympathy and offered support."

Japan needs a few hundred thousand dollars in donations from China, Taiwan, and Thailand?  They really don't.  And 5,000 people still living in school gymnasiums 10 days later?  Hm.  Pretty lame response, truly.  Other infrastructure damage: "Rail freight services have been suspended in wide areas of western Japan ... Japan Freight Railway Company President Koichi Shingai told reporters that full recovery will take more than one month. Shingai said the disaster severely damaged rail services... the disruption has affected supplies of agricultural commodities and paper products. The freight company last week began alternative services by truck and cargo ship that cover only about 13 to 14 percent of normal rail transport volume."

This has become a pattern; these rains were global-warming spawned record-breakers; nothing like them in their 3,000 year memories.  In 2016 Japan had serious earthquakes hit in similar circumstances; and the response from the central government was again, embarrassing.  Too little; too late, and still not helping much.  The outlying areas are sort of - on their own.  Not for lack of money, or resources - but lack of will.  Sounding familiar?

Following the floods - global warming heat wave: "The Fire and Disaster Management Agency says the soaring temperatures currently hitting Japan sent 9,956 people to hospital with heat stroke in the week ending last Sunday. Of them, 12 died...  The Meteorological Agency says that scorching heat will continue across Japan until the end of July..."

And- in case you were wondering - The Ice Wall Worketh Not; as I firmly predicted here, before it was built.  Physics, you know.  The "nuclear engineers" still have no idea, 7 years later, how they are going to clean up the leaked, melted, utterly lethal nuclear fuel - nor do they even know where it is.  The communities?  Gone.

The ancient observation that "Misery loves company" is not a good guiding principle.   But ignoring and forgetting misery, I think, is worse.

Hang in there.  Keep in mind - all your ancestors - were survivors.