Editorial: Hood River supports Japan

March 19, 2011

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

That Japanese proverb, featured in a cartoon in the March 16 edition, says much about the resilience of the Japanese people

The earthquake and tsunami, rising concern over nuclear disaster and harsh winter conditions combine for the worst crisis facing the Japanese people since World War II.

The tsunami spawned by the strongest earthquake to ever strike Japan has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. Thousands more are missing.

Here in Hood River, we feel a strong bond with Tsuruta, Japan, making the devastation on the northeast coast of Honshu island feel somehow closer. Our hearts are with our neighbors across the Pacific.

For the past week, our community was blessed with the presence of youth and adults from Tsuruta, who flew to the U.S. on the day of the earthquake and have been here enjoying the sights and events in the Gorge while anxiously conscious of the plight of their countrymen.

And the people of Hood River County are stepping up to help out. These are some of the ways this is happening:

• Taste of Tsuruta. This annual Sister City event, always a delicious success, takes on new meaning April 2; all proceeds will be sent to the Tsuruta Sister City program for that community to determine how the funds can best be of service. (Details on page A1.)

• Prayer vigil on Friday. A collection was raised at a March 18 prayer vigil at Riverside Community Church, organized by Gorge Ecumenical Ministries.

• Mt. Hood Meadows ski nights for Mercy Corps, March 23-24 (see 3 to Go, on page A1, for details).

Mercy Corps is working to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami with its longstanding partner, Peace Winds. Donations will be used to meet immediate and longer-term needs of earthquake survivors.

Certainly it will take much to help the hundreds of thousands of displaced people stand up again after the quake-and-tsunami caused them to fall down. The work will take years, but we hope that the people of Tsuruta know that we stand with them.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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