Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Evacuation Challenges

Masashi sent the following e-mail about the challenges that Iitate citizens face as they cope with the necessity to evacuate their homes.

"Iitate village is currently facing various difficulties and challenges. It has become apparent that it is really difficult to evacuate within the short period suggested by the national government. Mayor Kanno expressed his concerns to a media reporter that it is impossible to complete the evacuation within a month. It takes time to find places and homes for this kind of long-term evacuation.

The village’s office also needs to move out of Iitate. It will temporary move to Iino district of Fukushima city after the completion of the evacuation.

Currently, the biggest issue is the livestock industry. On May 4th, the cattle raising corporation in Iitate decided to close their operation and sell all its 300 cattle. There are about 2,600 cattle in Iitate and farmers are facing difficulties relocating them to continue their cattle farming. It has created a critical situation for the Iitate brand of beef.

In early May, the dairy organization gave up keeping cows in Iitate and on May 9th, all milk cows were sent to the slaughter house. Farmers expressed their sorrow at this misfortune which had fallen upon their cows. For them cows are not just animals but their family members.

Compensation schemes for farmers are under discussion by the government."

Masashi also attached some recently released data showing the level of cesium on the surface of the soil. It shows that the southern part of Iitate shows higher levels (you can view the map by clicking here). The Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) and the USA Department of Energy collaborated to assess the radiation levels using aircraft. You can access their website via the following link:

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