Thousands of Japanese filled evacuation shelters or joined foreigners seeking a way out of the country Thursday in the aftermath of last week’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis at stricken reactors.
Cold, snowy weather further heightened the hardship of a nation facing what its leaders call its biggest disaster since World War II.
That thursday night, the night that the tsunami happened, I was out with some friends enjoying the beginnings of my Spring Break. When I came home and walked through the door, my roommate said to me “Have you called her yet?”. Baffled I asked- ‘called who?’ Looking up at his TV in bold white letters read- 9.0 earthquake hits Japan. ‘An earthquake just struck Japan- I think you need to call Leona immediately.’ For those who don’t know Leona, she’s is my cousin and one of the closest people to me on the face of this earth and she recently started working in Tokyo. Immediately I sprang for room and called her google phone. No response. Called it again. Again no response. I popped open my laptop and almost right away about 3-4 people messaged me on Facebook and asked how she was. I don’t even know how many messages I left on her email or her facebook. And most of the messages weren’t even really english- more like a blurb of panicked words. I messaged everyone and everyone I could and so far- word was good. All those that were in Tokyo seemed to be slowly coming through and eventually she messaged me that she was fine. The power was out and her emergency bag was packed- but she seemed to be fine. And now days after the incident the nuclear power plant, just a short way from Tokyo- she’s packed her bags- taken a 2 week leave from her job and taken a plane to Hong Kong, where her parents and our grandmother are.
I just video chatted with her yesterday and knowing our family- they are definitely in a super state of panic considering all the radiation news going around. We joke saying that she should call her dad saying that she’s starting to get a rash or she’s starting to get a really massive headache- just to freak them out a bit. Anything to lighten the mood I guess. But she’s honestly fine and in fact all her coworkers are still going to work.
All things considered Japan is truly handling this crisis really well. It’s entirely in their culture to help each other out in times of need. And how honorable and heroic those people are to help each other find their loved ones as well as keep the nuclear plant going through all the warnings and dangers. Makes me wonder if going to Japan is really my calling. I mean i came to college to do humanitarian architecture. Seems like everything is falling into place.
Here are some graphics that were all made for the recent crisis. enjoy.