I was shocked to read that a clinic in Japan has refused to treat the eight-year-old daugther of Takayuki Okamura for a skin rash — for fear that she had been contaminated by radiation.
The Takayuki family has been living the same hardship as so many Japanese families since the tsunami damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant: they’ve evacuated their home — which was 18 miles away from the Fukushima plant — and are now living in a shelter.
Refusing to treat a patient because they’re afraid the patient has a certain illness — does this sound like “normal” behavior for a medical facility? I think not. But the behavior more than hints at something that I haven’t seen talked about much (if at all?) in the news, but something that many of us have probably been suspecting for quite some time — people in Japan are starting to panic. Or maybe it’s been going on for a while, as would not be surprising, under the circumstances.
If the Japanese populace is in any semblance of a state of panic, I would expect that would be the last sort of thing they’d want to show on the news — if only because panic tends to cause more panic, and that doesn’t help anyone.
What is the U.S. Doing to Help Japan?
Rear Admiral Scott Swift, director of operations at US Pacific Command, has been quoted as saying that about 15,000 United States personnel have been assisting with round-the-clock relief operations since the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan on March 11.
“How long we will maintain a presence — the answer is simply as long as the Japanese people and in particular the Japanese Self-Defense Force requires our assistance,” Swift has said.
The military of the United States has already transported more than 50,000 tons of fuel and 650 tons of cargo to northern Japan, in the areas suffering the most damage from the earthquake and tsunami. Currently, the confirmed death toll from the disaster is 11,000, with more than 16,000 still unaccounted for.
What About U.S. Citizen Donations to Japan?
It’s difficult to pin down a solid dollar amount for donations collected for Japan by U.S. citizens. There are two reasons for this: 1. funds are being collected from MANY sources and by many organizations in the U.S., and 2. more funds continue to pour in steadily.
As of March 29, 2011, the approximate total of private donations to Japan is $150 million. Here’s how it breaks down:
- The American Red Cross — $120.5 million.
- Save the Children — $13.9 million (in the United States)
- World Vision — $6.5 million (in the United States)
- Oregon-based Mercy Corps — $5.79 million.
- The Salvation Army — unspecified amount, in the millions
For information on how to donate funds to help the Japanese people, visit the Red Cross website.