First, the good news! Our convoy team we sent south to Ofunato with the search and rescue teams from USAID has returned safely. We may be sending another team down there this week, and I am not sure if I will be placed on that one either. I also found out from the guys that when they left the locals came out and waved while they came through town. Tomorrow a team of pararescuemen from Kadena are coming in to Misawa to hep with relief efforts. Unfortunately we're at 100+ hours from the quake and most of the recovery operations are for bodies.
I finally got some more information about how we fared locally last night. Last night we helped the Civil Engineering Squadron load up a bulldozer on a trailer so that they could take it over to the coast and help clean up the fishing port and the highway. A few posts ago I posted a picture of the beach from a small park. That park was off of Route 338 which runs up and down the coast and is about 2 miles from my house. Apparently everything east of that has been destroyed. Luckily due to the early warning system and our distance from the epicenter there was enough time to evacuate everyone and Misawa avoided having a single death. There were some deaths further south in Hachniohe, including one guy who went out to check on his boat before the tsunami fully knowing it was coming!
There are some shortages of certain supplies over here, most importantly gasoline. Off base and all over Japan people are panicking and buying out stores and causing any shortages there were to be even worse. Gasoline is being rationed both on and off base, and if you have more than a 1/4 tank you're being turned away from the pumps. All of the toll roads are closed so it's not like anyone should be going far!
Electricity is also an issue. Most of the base is still without power, including my shop. Off base they're having scheduled blackouts to conserve energy. I know many people have been asking about the nuclear plant and from what we are being told we're safe up here. The plant is about 200 miles south of here and the seasonal winds would take any radiation out to sea and not towards us. If all else fails I can bust out my chem gear and gas mask!