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Japan, a week later

(article, Culinate staff)

A week ago today, Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. Yesterday Kim O'Donnel chatted with Culinate readers about the quake in her Table Talk live-chat column, and one of her topics was how to help the survivors. 

Culinate contributor Matthew Amster-Burton noted during the chat that there was no easy way to directly help the country via donations. (It was easier, and arguably more necessary, to donate aid a year ago to quake-ravaged Haiti, where chronic poverty and feeble infrastructure meant that a smaller quake caused more devastation.) That said, numerous websites offer easy ways to donate to relief efforts for Japan, including Yahoo! and Google.

Because Japan is a wealthy country with high-tech power sources, one of the disaster's consequences has been the threat of radioactive fallout from the nuclear reactors damaged in the quake. Of immediate concern, of course, is contamination of the food supply in Japan, followed by possible contamination worldwide as the fallout enters the jet stream. 

Fearful U.S. consumers have bought up supplies of potassium iodide and sea kelp, hoping the supplements will prevent radiation-caused thyroid cancer. Some folks are concerned about milk, which is a known conveyor of radiation poisoning. And the "quake-up call" has reminded many of the need for disaster-preparedness kits at home, including stocking up on food.