Nuclear Crisis Seen from Shanghai – Day 5

Today it´s been 6 months since I arrived in Shanghai. And let me tell you what today felt like. Contrary to all the other entries I write up here, this one will attempt to be as objective as possible of the few things I´ve observed since this morning.

First off, let me link this one here. China is sending tremendous amount of aid to Japan, many local and national TV channels are dealing with the situation 24 hours a day (experts and weathermen talking and saying there´s no potential threat to this part of the country), showing Chinese celebrities giving blood and encouraging us to donate money. And today I heard no negative comments about Japanese people whatsoever. A number of locals – though Hong Kong is said to be more at risk – seem to panic slightly, pharmacies ran out of radiation-proof pill supplies and schools sent emails to parents to take precautions such as not to open, or hang out laundry in, the windows, not to turn on the heating (in Shanghai it´s through forced air only) and to remain indoors.

Radioactive particles are supposed to reach us tomorrow morning (though I haven’t seen nor heard any official announcement of this), and we are advised (by Chinese and foreign friends and a handful of schools) to take a taxi everywhere instead of walking outside longer than a few minutes. And I got the following, fake, text message a couple of times, first at 11.45 am local time.

¨BBC Flash news. Japanese Govt confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24 hrs. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Phil (Philippines) starting from 4 pm today. Pls. send it to your loved ones.¨

I was ten and living in Hungary when Chernobyl exploded. For several days there was no news about the disaster so millions of people spent entire days outdoors celebrating Labour Day. (And you can imagine the scale of forced celebrations in a socialist context).

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