16 March 2011

Japanese earthquake disaster facts emerge

Japan remains under its worst threat to an ever rising toll, widespread destruction, power, fuel and water shortages follow the massive earthquake, tsunami and failed 40-year old nuclear power station.

IARU Region 3 Secretary, Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP said the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) HQ station JA1RL and other amateur stations are maintaining their effort to support the disaster relief operation.

Ken JA1CJP said, ''In less damaged areas, the electric power supply is being restored gradually and local amateur radio club members have started to establish stations at shelters."

The information is being coordinated as part of an organised rescue and relief effort. It seems likely to continue for some weeks and months to come.

The 8.9 on the Richter scale quake hit off north-eastern Sendai and triggered a ten-metre tsunami on Friday.

Ken JA1CJP quoting local news sources said, "The situation is getting worse. On March 15, police announced that 2,414 people have been killed (up from 1,627 24 hours earlier) and 3,118 are reported missing (about double in the same period).

"Some 55,380 houses/buildings were damaged by the earthquake and 3,000 houses washed away by the tsunami."

Rescue teams have arrived and started their activities in the affected areas. They came from many nations including Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, China, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Russia.

In all the Japanese government has received help from 91 nations and territories and nine international organisations.

Ken JA1CJP said another worry is leakage of radio-active gasses at the Fukushima nuclear plant which was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

A shortage of fuel, disruption to rail and road transport have been reported from many affected areas still recovering from the worst earthquake in 140 years followed by a widespread tsunami that swept away so much.

JA1RL continues to operate under instruction to be an emergency traffic centre and increasingly receiving help from JARL members in the affected area.

It is using the 7 MHz SSB, 144 MHz SSB/FM and 430 MHz SSB/FM.

Many other stations are active and are using various frequencies including some battery powered and others using small generators to exchange rescue and disaster relief operation information with JA1RL and others.

While 3525, 7030, 7043 and 7075 have been mentioned as in use, it's wise to keep those and all of the Centre of Emergency (CoA) clear of normal and non-urgent traffic. There is no call for additional foreign radio amateurs.

Jim Linton, VK3PC

Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

Source: http://www.southgatearc.org/news/