Monday, September 12, 2011

Japan Marks 6 Months Since Earthquake, Tsunami

Up and down Japan's devastated northeast coast, survivors prayed and communities came together Sunday to mark six months since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, a date that changed everything for them and their country.

New York's Times Union reports that as the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, Japanese parents hung colorful paper cranes for their lost children and monks chanted in front of smashed buildings. Thousands also marched in the streets to demand that the country abandon nuclear power because of damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake produced the sort of devastation Japan hadn't seen since World War II. The tsunami that followed engulfed the northeast and wiped out entire towns. The waves inundated the Fukushima plant, triggering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Some 20,000 people are dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society estimates that 400,000 people were displaced.

In March, Girl Scouts of the USA encouraged girls to make origami cranes (Sadako) to send to their sister Girl Scouts in Japan as expressions of friendship after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. In Florida, Girl Scout Senior Troop 457 took the call to heart, and made 1,000 cranes to send to Girl Scouts in Japan. They started making the cranes in June and continued during each meeting over the summer.

Do you have any examples of Girl Scouts reaching out to those whose lives have been disrupted by disasters.