A visual journey through the impact of the earthquakes that hit Haiti in January 2010 and Japan on March 2011, the joint response and sustainable recovery efforts. (more...)
Bicycle ride from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince, New York and Boston. Bringing together the TEDx communities on these cities and raising awareness on the challenges and opportunities of innovation and collaboration. (more...)
The team splits up, there was plans to meet up with Ushahidi guys, but it all fell through. Nonetheless, Carlos was on his way to Fukuoka to meet up with folks at the Grameen Creative Labs at Kyushu University. Carlos has missions: 1) Help organize TEDxEarthquake9.0 2) Pitch Relief 2.0 and Relief Enterprise to Grameen Labs in Kyushu University.
For me, my mission was to replace what we've consumed at Tokyo Hackerspace, and fix my focusing screen and mirror of my Canon 5D. So it was a trip to BIC Camera and Yodobashi.
It was very crowded as always in Shinjuku and it felt like the earthquake never happened here. Although there are some malls with floors closed for "remodeling", it was pretty "life as normal" at Shinjuku. The thing I really love about Shinjuku is how friendly the police are. They give very clear directions and are a fantastic source of information. I found Yodobashi without any problems, and bought my focusing screen. The store is huge, and the camera section fills a building with EVERYTHING in stock, even a Leica Titanium M9! This was the first time I saw the 800mm F 5.6L lens in real life as well. Then its time for Yakotori!
We found a small store and had a great meal, and I decided to walk around to discover more about Shinjuku. I've found some monks, musicians and luckily no mimes!
Such a beautiful day to be out. I chatted with some folks about their experience during the earthquake, and most of them who were in Tokyo said that this was the strongest earthquake that lasted minutes which they have experienced, but the buildings seemed fine.
I wrote this down as I chatted with a person from Tohoku.
Tohoku disaster, one that cannot be simply mearsured by meer death tolls, is affecting the world. With a lot of manufacturing. The fact is, parts from computer chips to paint pigments have stopped manufacturing and are dwingling fast. The factories are not really damaged, but the crucial supply of water and electricity have made it hard for the world's second largest auto industry to crank out parts. Because the parts are shipped by sea, the real effect is not felt by the world yet, and the port near Tohoku is destroyed. The problem also lies in the fact that the parts manufactured by Tohoku takes a long time to be replaced as the precision monitoring and diagnostics for cars is very specific, and it takes a long time to switch suppliers.
The rising yen. I do not understand the reason why the Yen is rising and how the rising yen would help in reconstruction. I feel that with a high yen, the donations collected would actually buy less and do less.
Talking to some people who were on the coast when the Earthquake hit, it gave me a new perspective on life. In Natori Japan, a closed bowling alley -- Airport Bowl is now used as a morgue. more than 100 white coffins rest on the dividers between the 25 lanes, and people walk up and down the alternate emptu lanes, their heads lowered, looking into each coffin, trying to find loved ones. Airport Bowl is in a suburb bordering Sendai and everyday, 25 - 30 bodies arrive and 10 are identified and moved out.
At Ishinomaki, I've seen every patch of land at Graveyards being dug up, and a lot of burrial services conducted daily. The great loss of lives is one that overwhelmes you when you look at it in person. No words can describe the sadness I felt, and no pictures could describe the imagery of the whole incident. Constantly, there are people going to the disaster struck area to try to identify family, friends and other loved ones, and occassionally, they find survivors in the shelters, or they can say their last "thank you and good bye" at the make shift morgues. I lost my dad 3 years ago, and I know I have countless words I would like to tell him before he left me and was more fortunate than most people at Ishinomaki who still have their loved ones missing.
What happens during the earthquake and Tsunami is not our fault, but what happens after is something we can all contribute to make things get back to normal again. We cannot replace loved ones, but we can help people restart their businesses again. In my days at Ishinomaki, I can see many people cleaning their stores which is wiped out by the tsunami. For most business owners, the infrastructure and building remains, human capacity remains. I feel that the best help is not donations which according to Carlos, turns survivors into refugees, but rather helping them restart their businesses, providing necessary funding for them to start a business to hire more people who loss their jobs and businesses due to the tsunami.
When I see people working hard to clean their shops, their minds are occupied and they are strong. But when all the cleaning is done, and the people are not doing things to preoccupy their time, they start getting depressed and focus on the negative things that happened. I believe in Relief 2.0, where helping businesses to start, rebuilds towns, villages and communities. when there is no business and comerce due to a disaster, there is no jobs, no hope and no future. Conventional charities provide the necessities to survive, we help rebuild the future.
-- Robin Low