Saturday, October 4, 2014

(OT) Mt. Ontake Eruption: God of the Foundation of the Land Decapited by a Volcanic Rock

The statue of the god, 国之常立神("god that always stands on the land"), on top of Mt. Ontake is still standing, but without the head. The photo was taken by Mainichi Shinbun, shared on Twitter by @Santou.

I thought this was rather symbolic.

So far, 51 people are (finally) confirmed dead. There are still 15 people missing. From what I have read in the newspapers, there may have been people who may have been alive if they had been rescued earlier. But it seems to be "safety first" and foremost for the rescue workers including fire fighters and Self Defense Force, from the start.

The maximum density of hydrogen sulfide deemed safe by the government law (Industrial Safety and Health Law) is 10 ppm. Not so for the fire fighters, who decided to be very safe and use 5 ppm as the max they would tolerate. Not so for the Self Defense Force, who decided to be even safer than the fire fighters and use the ridiculously low 1 ppm. So, they evacuated from the mountain when their finely tuned instrument showed the density to be slightly over 2 ppm.

There is something that doesn't make sense about the rescue effort by the national government and the local municipalities.