JAPAN 2011 - My experiences

  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Mar 20, 2011 6:47 AM GMT
    Yesterday I returned to the UK from Japan.
    My "Japanese home town" is right on the coast and was very close to the epicenter of the quake, not much later we got hit by the tsunami too.

    In order to get back home I had to walk for over 3 hours, through some of the hardest hit areas, using train tracks to pass over rivers and through tougher areas. Then took a 12 hour bus ride around the nuclear plant's exclusion zone and 2 plane journeys to arrive back in London.
    The UK government were amazing in getting their people out and I am truly blessed in that I had these options, but many people can't escape from dangerous areas because they have no where to go or no one to help them.

    My town's natural defenses meant that we were (comparatively) lucky. Our port was ruined and cars, boats and homes were thrown around like toys but most of the damage was contained to a small area.
    We lost power, heat, water and food very quickly. I was forced to resort to collecting rainwater and snow in order to drink and cook.

    My school quickly turned into a rescue center and I did what little I could to help the locals.
    I spent a few nights living in the shelters and it wasn't pleasant but we were all frightened of aftershocks and a second big quake that was being predicted.

    I kept hearing horror stories:
    One local told me of how a woman had here two small children in her car and managed to out run the tsunami to her friend's home. She passed her first child from the car to the house and as she was handing over her second the tsunami caught up and ripped her away. Her children were both saved but the chances of the woman surviving are very slim.

    The second came from a fellow teacher who took refuge in his school gym, he teaches elementary school slightly further up the coast. He was inside with his students and some of the locals when water started to enter the gym, they were trying to reach higher ground when a car smashed into a door and water surged in. It created a whirlpool in the gym and he survived by hanging onto a curtain with people hanging onto him...he saw some of his students sucked down and out into the tsunami.

    Things have calmed down since then, but now people are having to face the aftermath. There are those who lost homes, pets, family and those who lost EVERYTHING.
    Whole towns were decimated but life carries on, people are thankful for anything they can get and the Japanese spirit of perseverance in the face of adversity continues.

    I'm back in my home country for a short time in order to remind the public that there are still thousands of people who have lost everything and in desperate need of help.

    If you haven't already, please consider donating anything you can spare, everything we can get will help contribute to the rebuilding of people's lives.

    UK
    http://www.redcross.org.uk/JapanTsunami
    http://www.savethechildren.org.uk
    http://www.justgiving.com/InteragiJapanEarthquakeAppeal

    US
    http://www.redcross.org/

    JPN
    http://www.2hj.org

    Thank you
    Alex
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    Mar 20, 2011 2:16 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing.
  • SomeSiciliano...

    Posts: 543

    Mar 20, 2011 2:23 PM GMT

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad you are ok....and yes, we need to remember and assist the survivors in any way possible. Thank you for posting the links. p.s. Hati is still a complete wreck and needs help too.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Mar 20, 2011 5:49 PM GMT
    Wow. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Just to make it easier for people, these links will actually go to where you meant:

    http://www.redcross.org.uk/JapanTsunami
    http://www.savethechildren.org.uk
    http://www.justgiving.com/InteragiJapanEarthquakeAppeal

    US
    http://www.redcross.org/

    JPN
    http://www.2hj.org
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    Mar 20, 2011 5:51 PM GMT
    Well i am glad you are well and also thanks for telling us this
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    Mar 20, 2011 6:03 PM GMT
    thank you for sharing, my restaurant is donating every proceeds of merchandise we sell to the Japan relief efforts, and its amazing at how people can come together and chip in.
    icon_smile.gif
  • str8hardbody9

    Posts: 1519

    Mar 20, 2011 6:12 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing. I already donated. Please donate they need some help in Japan.
  • rioriz

    Posts: 1056

    Mar 20, 2011 6:13 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing your story and I am so glad you made it out ok!
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    Mar 20, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    Thank you for sharing. Glad you made it home safely.
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    Mar 21, 2011 1:24 AM GMT
    Glad you are safe, and thanks for sharing it with us. Take care of yourself.
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Mar 22, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    Thank you all, as I said I was very lucky.

    Right now I have 3 charity events I am arranging in order to collect donations for the Japanese people. It's hard work and I'm a little overwhelmed but I can't abandon my friends and community.

    Again, if you haven't donated yet please consider sparing a few dollars to help rebuild the shattered lives of these people.

    Many thanks
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    Mar 22, 2011 10:02 PM GMT
    Hokenshi saidThank you all, as I said I was very lucky.

    Right now I have 3 charity events I am arranging in order to collect donations for the Japanese people. It's hard work and I'm a little overwhelmed but I can't abandon my friends and community.

    Again, if you haven't donated yet please consider sparing a few dollars to help rebuild the shattered lives of these people.

    Many thanks


    http://blog.givewell.org/2011/03/15/update-on-how-to-help-japan-funding-is-not-needed-we-recommend-giving-to-doctors-without-borders-to-promote-better-disaster-relief-in-general/

    Many charities on the ground are unable to take on the funding or use it effectively and as such most of the international charities raising money in the name of Japan are doing so opportunistically and to cover administrative expenses that have nothing to do with Japan - including the Red Cross.

    More here: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/03/14/dont-donate-money-to-japan/

    And then there's this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/world/asia/16charity.html?ref=stephaniestrom

    The Japanese Red Cross, for example, has said repeatedly since the day after the earthquake that it does not want or need outside assistance. But that has not stopped the American Red Cross from raising $34 million through Tuesday afternoon in the name of Japan’s disaster victims.

    Roger K. Lowe, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said his group had sent $10 million to Japan on Tuesday, and had spoken with the Japanese group, which had expressed gratitude for the support.

    He also shared a note sent by the Red Cross’s international governing body in Switzerland, a missive that was sent out to the American and other national Red Cross organizations and read in part: “At present, the Japanese society is not launching a national or international appeal, but expressions of solidarity in the form of unearmarked financial contributions would be gratefully received.”

    The American Red Cross keeps 9 percent of any money it raises, which means that as of Tuesday afternoon, it had raised more than $3 million for itself through the Japan campaign. It also plans to cover the costs of the shelters it opened in California and Hawaii when there were warnings that a tsunami might hit there, estimated at somewhat less than $100,000.


    In many ways it's depressing how charities are attempting to capitalize on the suffering in Japan. It's also a reminder to be careful of how and to whom you give.
  • Hokenshi

    Posts: 387

    Mar 23, 2011 2:21 PM GMT
    This is a page set up about several charity events I'm doing in order to raise awareness and funds.
    I'd be forever indebted to those who could find some spare money to donate.

    http://www.justgiving.com/jpn

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    Japan-Tsunami-crisis.jpg
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    Mar 23, 2011 2:41 PM GMT
    I would love to help icon_smile.gif