This archived article was written by: Kristen Zarucchi-Mize
On March 11, 20011, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began 140 years ago struck the northeast coast, generating a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path and killed at least 10,000 people.
The earthquake had a magnitude of 9.0 and the Japanese National Police Agency officially confirmed 8,805 deaths, 2,628 injured and 12,664 people missing across 18 prefectures and 125,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe structural damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas and a dam collapse.
Imagine all of this destruction and devastation going on in your home country; meanwhile you are attending school in another part of the world. This is the scary truth for a few students attending USU-Eastern. Many of the Japanese students have the daily fear of worrying about their family in Japan. They wonder if they will be okay and they deal with the frustration of not being able to help their country.
Yuko Watanabe, a former USU-Eastern student from Japan, remained in contact and provided information about her country during the events of the earthquake and tsunami to one of her friends on campus.
Here is the provided transcripts as we have to date:
Friend of Yuko March 11 at 8:14 am: “Are you okay? Is your family okay?”
Yuko Watanabe March 11 at 7:23 pm: “Thank you so much for your message. Tetsu, Kaori and Izuna are all okay.”
Friend of Yuko March 11 at 8:49 pm: “I was so sad this morning. I cried watching the news on TV. I love our Japanese students. I was so sad for all of you. I am so blessed you are all safe. I will pray for recovery efforts and God to bless all of you. I love you. Please post everyday so we know you are all right. I read everyday about aftershocks and nuclear radiation. I pray all day everyday that our Japan kids are safe.”
Yuko Watanabe March 12 at 8:39 pm: “Thank you so much for everything. I’ve been watching the news because all of the TV programs have been canceled and every station has news about the earthquakes and radiation stuff here.
“I can’t believe what happened in the northern Japan area and it makes me sad when I see it through the news.
“Luckily my town is on the west side of Japan and nothing has happened here like how it is in the northern area, but we are still shocked and don’t know when we will get earthquakes like that in the future.
“My father got earthquake insurance for the house and family right before the earthquakes started and things are really tough all over in Japan. Everyone is getting scared and worried about where the next earthquakes will hit.
“All the Japanese students are okay and we are so happy to have friends like you guys. We hope everything will be okay like before in Northern Japan area and we hope radiation doesn’t spread because this is very scary for us. I love you so much and we send you big hugs from me and all Japanese students in Japan!”
Friend of Yuko March 12 at 9:12 pm: “We love you. Sorry things are so scary. We pray that nuclear plant is safe and no more radiation harm. We will pray that no more quakes or tsunami. We will pray for ALL Japanese people to find peace and safety in Jesus’ arms of love. We love you. We keep praying.”
Friend of Yuko March 15 at 8:16 am: “Are you okay? We love you. We pray for you. We pray for God’s peace and protection over you and your people in Japan. I’m sad every day for you and Japan. I am so scared for you and I am far away.”
Yuko Watanabe March 15 at 8:25 am: “I’m okay … but seriously it’s getting closer and we don’t know where it will hit next or when. I will keep in touch with you.”
Friend of Yuko March 15 at 8:29 am: “What do people in Japan need? The college is trying to do service for Japan. What do they need? Clothes, blankets, coats, hygiene products, or what do you suggest?”
Yuko Watanabe March 16 at 7:53 am: “That’s so sweet. If the college is trying to do service for Northern Japan area, I suggest they need food and water and blankets stuff because it’s still cold and they have lost everything, even their houses.
“Everyone here is trying to help Northern Japan, as well, even though we are trying to use less power because some places still have no power. We are trying to send food and water over there as well. We feel so thankful to every country for supporting us in Japan.”