Messages from abroad come in as family members keep eyes on Japan

Messages from abroad come in as family members keep eyes on Japan

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 2:49 pm
By: Sara Rachels, Staff Writer

The shockwaves resulting from Thursday night’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan are being felt across oceans as local citizens continue to wait and worry about loved ones living over in the Land of the Rising Sun.

As the country of Japan is literally being rocked from its east coast to its west coast with smaller quakes and aftershocks, Weakley County residents whose family members are staying in Japan for military or other reasons continue to stay in correspondence by telephone, e-mail and Facebook as Japan’s outlook changes by the second.

Capt. Emily Newman, a flight nurse in the United States Air Force, a native of Huntingdon and the daughter of Jeanie and Dr. Robert Nanney of Dresden and Bob Newman of Huntingdon, has been stationed at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan.

Okinawa is a small island that is a three-hour flight southwest of Tokyo. The island is so small that there is no safe inland area to which they could evacuate if they were to have a tsunami or earthquake. It is home to one of the largest Air Force bases in the world.
"Emily's mother and I were stunned when we heard about the massive earthquake in Japan, but we were equally relieved when Emily posted on Facebook at about 5 a.m. (our time) that she's safe thus far. She lives right on the coast of Okinawa, so she's extra vulnerable to any after-effect of the tsunami," Nanney commented. 
"We appreciate everyone's prayers and concern for the safety of Emily and so many others at military bases in Okinawa and certainly in the Tokyo area where they had such devastation. We have friends in this area who have family members in Japan, as well, and our prayers go out to them."
Eric Clark, son of Jim and Anna Clark of Martin, teaches English in Sendai, Japan. He has been in contact with his parents, and he has told them that he is okay and still in his apartment in the city. In an e-mail he wrote on Friday morning (March 11), he said that he does not have water and that "the shaking doesn't stop."
He also said that students in one of his schools, a school near the coast of Sendai, had to be evacuated by helicopter from the roof of the school.
Clark described the earthquake as follows: The "initial earthquake started and grew in intensity slowly. Pretty soon all the drawers had been jerked open and the water in the outside swimming pool was being upheaved and was pouring out the sides. The violent shaking subsided, but I could feel earth constantly trembling for well over an hour, and there were deep rumbles before the aftershocks."
Clark graduated from UT Martin in 2004. He also studied at Hirosaki University in northern Japan and has taught English in Japan since 2005. He moved to Sendai in July of 2010.
Others in the community are taking a “watch and see” approach, while the rest of the world braces for more reports of devastation.
Over at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s international programs office, communication between students and family remembers remains questionable, but has not become an issue thus far. 
The Associated Press as of this afternoon has released a breakdown of impacted areas. 
The following is the latest global implications from this morning’s event: 
• Tokyo – A ferocious tsunami spawned by one if the largest earthquakes ever recorded slams Japan’s eastern coast, killing hundreds of people as it sweeps away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burn out of control; Japan orders thousands of residents near a northeaster nuclear power plant to evacuate after Japan’s massive earthquake caused a problem in the plant’s cooling system; tens of thousands of stranded people roam the streets of Tokyo or hole up in offices and train stations as the capital’s usual bustling traffic comes to a standstill after being the biggest earthquake in modern Japanese history strikes;
• Honolulu – Tsunami waves hit Hawaii and were sweeping through the island chain after an earthquake in Japan sparked evacuations throughout the Pacific and as far as the U.S. western coast; 
• Los Angeles – Scientists say the massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan ranks as the fifth-largest jolt in the world since 1900. The magnitude 8.9 “megathrust” quake is similar to what happened during the 2004 Sumatra quake and the one last year in Chile. In all cases, one tectonic plate is shoved beneath another. Pres. Barack Obama assured earthquake-ravaged Japan that the United States “stands ready to help” and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is read to come to the aid of Hawaii and west coast states that could be hit by Pacific tsunamis. 


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