For their communities, for those who are lost, for the dead and dying, for courage in the days ahead:
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The devastation caused by one of the most powerful earthquakes in the last century is horrifying:
The death toll is expected to exceed 10,000. Many more are still missing.
The Japanese are a brave and resourceful people. They will rebuild.
They have been our trading partners, friends and allies for the last fifty years. We owe them whatever help we can give.
That might begin with honesty in reporting.
Ten thousand dead, massive devastation, and the ABC TV news led off last night with a story suggesting a nuclear explosion. There was no ‘nuclear explosion.’
The two plants at Fukushima shut down automatically and successfully following the earthquake. The dramatic looking explosion was was caused by steam expansion.
Drastic measures were taken to keep the reactors cool following the quake, and the tsunami which flooded the backup diesel generators. Minimal radioactivity (not much above normal background levels) has been released. The Fukushima reactors have three levels of containment, the third of which is designed and tested to contain even a core meltdown.
To be instigating a panic about this, or demanding urgent answers and updates, as Foreign Minister Rudd has been doing, is to show an appalling disregard and disprespect for the people of Japan.
A bit like like coming across a major car accident in which several people have been killed, others seriously injured, and then demanding that one of the victims do something about the stain you got on your pants getting out of your Rover.
If any lesson at all can be taken from the experience of the Fukushima reactors, it is that nuclear power is extraordinarily safe.
These are older reactors. Safety and containment has improved dramatically since they were built. They survived a massive earthquake, following which their backup power generators were flooded by a tsunami. Yet their containment procedures worked, and virtually no radiation was leaked.
So please, Mr Rudd and media organisations, stop the grandstanding, and get on with the job of honest reporting and helping our friends in their time of need.