March 21, 2011
Ten days after the earthquake and tsunamis struck Japan, the situation is grim but improving. Railroads have been opened to Morioka (in the heart of Iwate) from the west and north, making it much easier to get supplies into the stricken area. Lines of communication and supplies are beginning to reach isolated evacuation centers and groups of survivors. Acute shortages of food, gasoline, and kerosene have been alleviated in many areas. Along with the bad news, we are seeing some reports of good news -- families reunited, survivors miraculously found inside collapsed buildings nine days after the tsunamis, hospital patients safely moved to hospitals outside the disaster area.
Since shortly after the disaster began, I've been in close communication with our sister club in Iwate, the Iwate Rail Modelers' Circle (IRC). I'm happy to be able to report that out of 26 members, we have been able to confirm that 23 are safe. The remaining three members are most likely also safe, as they live in areas that were not too severely hit by the disasters. While the IRC members are safe, it is almost certain that some have lost friends and loved ones in this disaster, and our hearts go out to them.
Naturally, we want to help in any way we can. JRM is in the unique position of having a sister club not just in Japan, but in Iwate. This may give us opportunities to provide assistance in specific ways that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. In particular, we are working with IRC to find ways to help lift the spirits of children in families who've lost everything. We will update our website with detailed information as we work out concrete plans.
In the meantime, please keep the victims and survivors in your thoughts as they begin the long and difficult recovery. If you'd like to provide material assistance, I personally recommend donating to either the Japanese Red Cross or Direct Relief.
March 12, 2011
I believe I can speak for everyone in the Japan Rail Modelers of Washington, DC when I say that our hearts and minds are with the people of Japan at this time of crisis.
Our sister club in Japan, Iwate Rail Modelers' Circle (IRC), is based in Iwate prefecture. The tsunamis associated with the March 11 earthquake pummeled the coast of Iwate, destroying entire towns and communities, including towns that some IRC members called home. We have heard that some IRC members are safe, but not all have been accounted for. We hope for their safety and the safety of their families.