Shelter boxes head for Japan

help from Berwickshire is heading to the worst affected area of Japan where thousands of people have been made homeless following last week’s earthquake, subsequent tsunami and radiation alert after damage to nuclear power stations.

Shelter, food and water are in desperate short supply and Eyemouth Rotary Club is joining forces with other Rotary clubs across the country to send shelter boxes.

A spokesman for Eyemouth Rotary Club told The Berwickshire News: “The world is watching with horror the latest news coming from Japan.

“The devastation that is unfolding with the loss of thousands of lives, young and old is truly heart-breaking and is incomprehensible to us living in Berwickshire.

“In addition to the devastation caused on Friday the explosion of one nuclear reactor and damage to three others is only adding to the complexity and scale of the emergency.

“Rotary (RIBI) is working with Humanity First UK – an international aid agency.

They have a team now established in Fukushima (60 miles from the reactor) and are providing food, water and blankets to over 1,000 refugees.

“The Humanity First team report that water supplies are very low even in Tokyo and that this is likely to be a serious issue for four to eight weeks.

“RIBI have sent 600 shelter boxes and 200 water purification kits to the area.

“These boxes being the existing stock currently held.

“The team in Japan will advise shortly on what can be sent that would be appropriate for the longer term.

“This will have been the single biggest initial response since the Rotary charity Shelter Box was established in 2006.

“One shelter box costs £590. The Rotary Club of Eyemouth and District has sent money at this time to buy one box.

“There will now be an urgent need to raise funds to pay for further supplies for Japan and to replace the stock that is currently on route.

“If you can help please speak with any member of The Rotary Club of Eyemouth and District or indeed any Rotary club in Berwickshire.

For more information regarding shelter boxes please see: http://www.shelterbox.org/”

As Japan struggles to deal with the consequences of the earthquake, tsunami and now the radiation risks from damaged nuclear reactors, the nuclear energy industry is once more in the spotlight.

UK Energy Minister Chris Huhne has already indicated that lessons need to be learned from the problems facing Japanese nuclear reactors.

Nuclear energy remains important to the UK providing around 20 per cent of the country’s electricity requirements from ten nuclear power stations across the country, including Torness on the East Lothian coastline which provides 18 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.

New nuclear power stations are planned across the UK but the SNP Scottish Govenment has a no nuclear policy.

Torness nuclear power station, came into commission in 1988 and is due to be decommissioned in 2023. EDF who run the station say that its reactors are protected against the kind of storm surge events expected in the U.K

“Safety is absolutely the number one priority,” said Mr Huhne.

“We don’t have the type of reactor that is involved in this particular incident, in the UK, and nor are we proposing that it should be part of any new nuclear programme,” he added.

Torness was visited by East Lothian Labour MP Fiona O’Donnell earlier this month who said at the time: “I was very impressed by the station’s first-class safety record.

“As demand for electricity grows, nuclear power will undoubtedly be part of the solution in securing Scotland’s energy needs for the future.’’