Radioactive Dead?

by Hanna

(From The New York Times.)

Clean-up workers have started entering the area around the Fukushima reactors to look for the dead. However, on March 31st, Spiegel Online reported a horrific situation.

Im Gebiet um das havarierte Katastrophenkraftwerk liegen noch immer bis zu tausend Leichen. Eine Bergung ist aber bisher nicht möglich – Rettungsteams, Ärzte oder aber auch die Angehörigen selbst könnten bei der Bergung einer zu hohen radioaktiven Strahlung ausgesetzt sein. Würden die Toten eingeäschert, könnten die radioaktiven Partikel in die Lugt gelangen; bei einer Erdbestattung könnte der Boden kontaminiert werden, schrieb Kyodo. Pläne, die Strahlenbelastung der Toten in der Sperrzone zu testen, wurden laut Nachrichtenagentur Kyodo jedoch am Donnerstag wieder aufgegeben.

Und so können Überlebende, die Angehörige bei der Katastrophe verloren haben, ihre Toten nicht bestatten. Die einzige Möglichkeit, die bleibt: die Leichen vor Ort in Spezialfahrzeugen zu dekontaminieren. Das wird derzeit überlegt.

(In the area around the reactors up to thousands of bodies still lay. Recovery is still impossible – rescue teams, doctors, and family members might be exposed to too high radiation. If the bodies are cremated, the radioactive particles could get in the air; in the case of burial, the ground might be contaminated, writes Kyodo. Plans to test levels of radioactivity on the dead were given up again on Thursday according to the news agency Kyodo.

And therefore, survivors of the catastrophe who have lost family cannot bury their dead. The only remaining possibility: to decontaminate them on site in special vehicles. This is now being considered.)

This makes me wonder if any rescue teams entered the area right after the quake, or were trapped people left to die because of other peoples’ fears?! If anyone has information on this, please share it.

As I mentioned yesterday, thousands of times more people have died from the natural disasters of earthquake and tsunami along the whole eastern coast of Japan than from the radioactivity around the Fukushima reactor. Since more people die of natural causes than of radioactivity, fear of the invisible is what is driving people’s actions.

However, the survivors in Fukushima need to also be reassured and comforted as they grieve. Helping them recover the dead and giving them a decent burial is vital in that process.

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