Thursday, May 9, 2013

Communication and looking for the truth

Last Saturday a train derailed in a city less than 10 miles from my home. It was a freight train with 13 wagons. After the derailment, three of the wagons carrying acrylonitrile exploded and caught fire.

Demo - Photo taken in 2009 - Copyright Marleen Hallaert 2009

After that we heard the following in press conferences:
  • there are no wounded
  • the smoke and vapor are not poisonous
  • the derailment is because of poor maintenance of the tracks
  • the derailment is not because of poor maintenance of the tracks
  • the driver was driving too fast
  • the driver was not driving too fast
  • there are 3 casualties
  • there is 'only' one casualty
  • the casualty has nothing to do with the explosion nor the fire
  • the vapor and smoke is dangerous
  • we need an evacuation
  • the casualty is a direct result of the accident
  • the deceased cannot be taken out of his home because it is too dangerous for the first aid workers
  • there are 17 wounded people
  • there are more wounded people (49)
  • the evacuated can go home
  • the evacuated went home
  • the evacuated who were at home are re-evacuated
  • there are 102 people in the hospital
  • everybody near the accident should remove all food stuff from their homes
  • the driver did not have certification to drive in Belgium
  • the driver did have certification to drive in Belgium
  • the cows near the accident can still remain in their pasture, no problem
  • people in the village should not eat any fruits or vegetables from their garden
  • the governor blames the miscommunication to Murphy's law
  • a toxicologist went public to warn the population
  • the governor responded there are 'other toxicologists'
  • people in neighbouring villages should not eat vegetables or fruits from their garden
  • it is safe for the people in the neighbouring villages to consume the fruits and vegetables out of their garden
  • Today, May 8, it is confirmed that people in the perimeter will not be allowed to go to their homes before May 18
  • the train is still there, it is not safe to remove the remaining wagons
  • Fishing is not allowed in part of the Scheldt, because of the toxicity of the extinguishing water which was released in the Scheldt.
It has been a terrible week already, miscommunication, non-communication, trying to find some truth in all the garbled messages.

And today, the local police issued the following status update:

"People, stop asking the same questions - read the communication. If we are not knocking at your door to evacuate, you are safe for the moment! If you feel anything, call 101."

Sad world.