Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Japan earthquake: ‘Basics are gone, and even power is to be rationed’

Damaged platforms for bullet trains are seen in Sendai, northern Japan Monday, March 14, 2011 following Friday's massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

Colm Smyth, an Irish man working as an English teacher in Yokohama said people are slowly trying to return to normality in crisis-hit Japan.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night Colm (33) from Clones, Co Monaghan said: “Obviously it is nowhere near totally back to normal.

“Train services and other transport links aren’t back to normal and there is a real shortage of food. My local store’s shelves are bare.

“All the basics are gone. There are also planned rolling power outages tomorrow.”

He described how he was grading pupils’ papers in a Starbucks coffee shop when the earthquake hit on Friday.

“I have experienced a lot of earthquakes in Japan over the six years that I have lived here, but nothing as strong as Friday’s,” he said.

“Now people are trying to get back to normal, but I went to bed last night and realised that the world had really changed.

“It will take Japan many, many years to recover from this disaster.”

Despite the transport disruption Mr Smyth said that he will be going to work today.

“The children won’t be in the school, but because it is coming up to the end of the Japanese school term there is a lot of grading to be done,” he said.

“The teachers have been asked to go and discuss a plan of action.

“People remain scared over the nuclear issue.

“Most people I have spoken to are choosing to watch all the news channels to get a balanced view of the situation,” Mr Smyth added.

“The local Japanese news is definitely playing down the explosions, so I’m flicking between BBC and CNN to get the less optimistic viewpoints.

“It is worrying, but one comfort is that with the changing of the seasons the winds will shift more southerly, hopefully shifting any radiation away from here.”

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