Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. I remember watching news footage of entire villages being swept away, cities and towns being utterly destroyed, and thousands of people trying to flee the waters but failing. It's reckoned that twenty thousand were killed. If that wasn't disastrous enough, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was breached, and the radiation which was released could eventually result in the deaths of hundreds - if not thousands - more people in the area over the next few years. For them, there will be literally no escape from their fate.
Yesterday was also the first anniversary of the death of a friend. Oesophageal cancer. A horrible and painful disease that doesn't hold out much hope of survival. For a while, he thought he'd kicked it. He proposed to his partner, they started to make the wedding arrangements, and then it returned. The tsunami after the earthquake.
His brother had cancer of the bowel. His sister had cancer that started in her knee and spread through her body. When they were younger, the family moved to Scotland, just over the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, near Dalgety Bay. The bay used to be a dumping and burning site for military aircraft, and it's believed that radium from the aircraft's instrument panels is responsible for the high level of contaminated clinker which is being found there.
Three children from one family contracting cancer. This may of course be nothing more than unfortunate coincidence, made even more coincidental by the fact that an older sister, who had left home to go to university before the family moved to Dalgety Bay, so far shows no signs of ill-health.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Defence are denying any responsibility for the radioactivity, but sections of the beach have been cordoned off, just in case.