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how did life get started?

Many cameras report on disasters, but they have all disappeared over time. Tom Kleijn returned to five disaster leaks and made for KRO-NCRV After the blow.

After the blow can be seen five Sundays from tonight (8:45 pm, NPO 2). TV journalist Tom Kleijn was in London (tower block fire), Genoa (collapsed bridge), California (forest fires), Fukushima (nuclear disaster) and our own Enschede (firework disaster).

Kleijn, who himself reported on disasters for years – he worked for TweeVandaag, NOVA, Nieuwsuur and Brandpunt – wondered: “How did the people who experienced it resume life? What is left of (government) promises made after the disaster? And how are things now, long after silent journeys (except London), relief efforts and those cameras from around the world have disappeared? ” He often thinks of people he gives spoken back to. “Then I suddenly say to the cameraman a year later: what would the lady actually be like? We journalists go there, report and leave. Just go back and wonder how people are now, I don’t see that question answered often. I was welcome to most. Some have told their story a hundred times. But if you spend time with them and show interest in them, they still want to tell their story. ”

Filmed after the blow in corona time

Kleijn, together with cameraman Joris Hentenaar winner of an Emmy Award 2006 for the report Hunting for Taliban, is just paying for a coffee like him Subway on the phone. He is in the Netherlands and was able to visit all foreign disaster sites before corona time. “Except Enschede, which has been largely incorporated in the era of the corana. The entire series was scheduled to air from April, but yes, then the virus came and the programming went around.

“The disaster in Enschede was the only one I was a journalist myself. Furthermore… where have I been? ”Says the program maker. “Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the Haiti earthquake, the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, shootings in America, bombings in Paris, Manchester and Copenhagen. Yes, I did make some reports. ”

On the photo Tom Kleijn and Joris Hentenaar fourteen years ago when they won an Emmy Award.
Tom Kleijn (right) and Joris Hentenaar, 14 years ago. Their NOVA report Hunting for Taliban – by reporter Tom Kleijn and cameraman Joris Hentenaar won an international Emmy Award. Photo: / Bryan Brown

I met people at their very worst moment

A fascination for disasters, as Kleijn does not always want to call it. “You often can’t do much with attacks. You arrive, a place has been cordoned off and there are flowers and candles. You try to find an eyewitness or family member, the next day you go into the neighborhood. In the aftermath of earthquakes and the tsunami, you are talking about a longer period. The fascination is then the circumstances you are in, which are then very bad. You can not sleep anywhere, there is hardly any food, there is no clean water. The people who live there are at their very worst moment, have lost everything. And yet there have always been stories of people doing something, helping other people, opening their homes. So much happens at the same time, from the worst to the best. I find that incredible. That is why this series is not only about misery, but also about things that a disaster may have resulted in. ”

On the photo the blown-up Roombeek district in Enschede in May 2000.
The devastated neighborhood where the explosion in the firework storage S.E. Fireworks occurred in 2000. Photo: / Marcel Antonisse

Fireworks disaster Enschede

May 13, 2000, detonation of an S.E. Fireworks; 23 dead, 950 injured, 200 homes from the Roombeek neighborhood destroyed.

In May we could After the blow about the fireworks disaster, exactly 20 years ago. The broadcast is now repeated as the final piece on July 12. Tonight we see London and then Genoa, California and Fukushima.

Kleijn got a lot of people in front of the camera in Enschede, even those who are still diametrically opposed. Where the disaster for most Tukkers is in the past, there is a small group of people involved who still seem to be busy with that May day in 2000. Such as the former director of the fireworks factory, the widow of one of the killed firefighters and a former detective. They cannot live with the fact that the cause of the disaster has never been clarified. That is why they recently filed a declaration and are fighting further.

However successful, Kleijn says: “I think the other four have just become a bit more impressive because of the corona time filming. The foreign episodes take place more on the street, between the people. Enschede was forced to do a little more sitting at a table at a distance, which made it less visual. But I was satisfied, 711,000 people watched. That made it the best scoring program of the evening on NPO 2, I am happy with that. ”

In the photo the blackened residential tower Grenfell in London.
The blackened residential tower Grenfell in London. Photo: AFP / Chris J. Ratcliffe

Brand Grenfell residential tower London

June 14, 2017; 72 killed, 77 injured, 24 floors burned down.

In the Kensington district, Kleijn participates in the silent march that residents and residents of the tower still walk every month. Nobody has been held responsible for the highly flammable facade panels of the building. However, more beautiful things also happen. For example, Kleijn met a survivor who went to work in a community kitchen with heart and soul, which was a dream for her. “This woman lived with her husband, two children and demented father-in-law in Grenfell. She heard her father-in-law shuffle across the room. She thought he was confused, but then saw that the entire tower was on fire. Apparently that man had woken up to that. They survived, but her best friend a few floors up didn’t. She called her for help, but panicked, the woman had not answered her phone. She has a great sense of guilt while living with her family in a hotel room for a year and a half. Cooking is what she always did, but it is back in the community kitchen in a mosque. She cooks more than three hundred meals a week with other women from Grenfell for community centers and schools, for example, and that shows her trauma processing. ”

In the photo the collapsed bridge of Genoa
The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa. Photo: EPA / Alessandro Di Marco

Morandi Bridge Genoa collapse

August 14, 2018; 43 killed, 15 injured, traffic fell from a height of 45 meters.

In Italy, Tom Kleijn mixes with the neighbors of Via Porro, the street that was hit by the collapse of the huge bridge. A place where emotions run high when the last parts of the bridge are blown up to build a new one.

Kleijn: “How big is the chance that something like this will happen if you just drive over it? It happened to the son of a man I got into the car in Genoa. His son was a co-driver on a small truck and texted with his father every morning. He sent that he drove up the bridge and then the apps stopped. Then his other son came into the room and he said “look on TV what happened to the Morandi.” A very intense story. ”

In the photo two people comforting each other in the rubble of the fires in Paradise.
Kimberly Spainhower hugs her 13-year-old daughter Chloe, while their husband and father Ryan search the ruins after Paradise fires. Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson

Wildfires Paradise, California

November 2018; 70 dead, 20,000 destroyed buildings, all of Paradise and neighboring Concow were destroyed.

Kleijn also visits Paradise in the America where he was a correspondent for a long time and where the residents literally had to flee from a blazing sea for a devastating forest fire. “In Paradise itself, 11,000 homes went up in flames in four hours. I am there with people who are all applying for permits to be able to rebuild, while at that moment there is another forest fire going on literally three quarters of an hour away. When I ask them why the hell they still want to live there, I get “hello, you live below sea level; what are you talking about? “in response. And that is also true. ”

In the photo a wrecked car after the tsunami and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in Japan
A car after the Fukushima Tsunami and a man in a safe suit from the nuclear disaster that followed the tsunami. Photo: AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno

Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan

March 11, 2011, 100,000 people evacuated; the nuclear disaster happened through a seaquake with a subsequent tsunami.

The nearly extinct Fukushima was hit twice and something contradictory is now happening. For example, in 2021 the city will receive part of the Olympic Games in Tokyo: the baseball tournament will take place there. The mayor is extremely optimistic and wants to show how safe the weather is: Tom Kleijn can taste fruit grown in the region. And that while a little further 17 million bags of radioactive earth are standing along the roads, one wonders where it should ever go. Kleijn: “The town was home to 20,000 people, 800 of whom returned to a ghost town. But yes, for what exactly? ”

Was he not afraid of the bags of radioactive junk? “No, there are radiation meters, locks and special suits and you have areas where you can and cannot go. In itself, the radiation is not very dangerous, you just don’t know exactly how long you can stay in it. So well, to live there again… What effect does that have? The people of Fukushima are suspicious of that. ”

Also read: First We Want More scores, what was cool and what was less?

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Tom Kleijn back to 5 disaster spots: how did life go about?


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