Saturday, March 26 – Sendai Airport opens thanks to the U.S. Marines
The Marines have landed and now relief flights can as well.
The Stars and Stripes edit team is still using my mom’s house as their base in Sendai. They offered to take me to dinner and we found a restaurant open at night. We had an enjoyable dinner. As long as you have a car, you can find an open restaurant even at night! It is also nice to have them staying with me because they keep me informed about what is happening with the relief effort in Sendai.
Yesterday, the editorial team went to the Sendai Airport to report on the cleanup. The airport was ravaged by both the quake and the tsunami. The TV stations played the footage over and over again of the airport being slammed by the waves.
The Stripes team told me the U.S. Marines from Camp Fuji, Japan came to help re-open the Sendai Airport. They took the lead in cleaning up the airport because the Japanese Self Defense Forces have other priorities right now in the hard hit coastal areas. The Marines succeeded which is a major milestone because now cargo planes filled with relief items can land there.
Things are getting better, at least for us in the Sendai area. But I know thousands of people lost everything – their family, their homes, their towns. They are not as fortunate as I am. Every day, the casualty/missing persons counts are updated in the newspaper.
Total Deaths: 10,066
Total Missing: 19,743
Total Evacuated: 246,178
In Miyagi Prefecture (where I live)
The numbers cannot begin to explain the devastation. For each person killed, for each person missing for each person uprooted from their homes, there are entire families and friends impacted as well. Even with the Stripes reporters help, I cannot grasp all the news. Nor, do I want to.