Food emergency in Japan

News out of Japan yesterday about the radioactive contamination of food in a wide area around the nuclear plant is terrifying. But not so much because of worries about international exports, as the article focuses on—that’s straightforward enough to shut down. Instead, it’s the people in Japan who are most likely to suffer its lingering effects.

And this when it’s already hard to get enough food to people in the affected areas.  Second Harvest Japan, the first food bank in that country, has dedicated all of its resources to responding to the earthquake, funnelling food and funds to those in need. You can follow their actions on Twitter and their blog and/or make a donation to their relief efforts here.

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(I was surprised to learn that even before the earthquake and tsunami 650,000 Japanese lacked food security and more than 50% of single parent families live in poverty. These people were in crisis long before the crisis.)

The World Food Program is also on the emergency food case, helping to provide logistical support and getting supplies to the affected areas “where some 350,000 people are estimated to be staying in 2,100 shelters,” according to WFP.

Unfortunately, none of this is going to go away soon. The scale of disaster is vast. But Japan has such a rich, interesting and well-established food culture (including one of the most intelligent school lunch programs I’ve seen in the world—see my posts about it here), its food system could very well prove as resilient as the people themselves.

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