In light of the devastation of the recent earthquake in Japan, I, like you, have been empathizing more and more on the terrible situation that is left behind. My wife (Mayumi) is Japanese and grew up in Mito & Hitachi Naka City which is along the east cost of Japan half way between Tokyo and Sendai. This is also about 40 to 50 Km from the Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima that you are reading about and about 15 minutes to the ocean.
Here is an interactive map from FT that I found that illustrates where I am writing from (it is labelled Hitach on the map which is a typo on FT's part!).
Mayumi has a 3 brothers and 1 sister who all have families of their own. Over the past week, we have been doing our best to be in contact with them all but it hasn't been easy. The phone lines were not always working. It is hard to imagine what they are experiencing and how we can help. We concluded that until their basic needs are met, it will be really difficult to understand their situation and how we can best help. We therefore decided that we would create this blog and start documenting the stories they are sharing with us.
The purpose of this blog is to ultimately raise money and resources to help her family and neighborhood. Over this past weekend, we have heard from so many concerned friends from around the world and are extremely grateful for all requests to help. Thank you Thank you and Thank you! We appreciate all of the tremendous support that you have given to Mayumi's family. Despite us being in Hong Kong, we will do our best to keep you posted on what type of help is most needed and how you all can participate.
Here is a quick update on how things are:
So far, we have been able to speak with her mom, dad, sister and nephew. We are still trying to reach her 2 brothers who are on the other side of town. To date, we haven't managed to reach them. We have heard they are safe though.
Today we were told that the ground is still shaking as their area experienced a minor one with magnitude of 4. A lot of the infrastructure such as roads are damage/destroyed so just getting around is making it quite difficult. Most of the grocery stores are without any food now but there are community centers for everybody to eat. Mayumi's family home has a severely damaged roof and they are all sleeping in various places like cars, community centers or areas within the house after they clean up the mess of all that has fallen. Gas is limited so everybody is conserving what they have and not driving. Her Mother has been able to secure water from a neighbor and also from a natural spring. Most people have gas to cook with if they have local tanks. Her sister has been so traumatized that she is just sleeping during the day. Her father who is nearly 70 has been climbing up to the roof to fix things which is extremely nerve wrecking knowing how unstable things are and how easy it is for him to slip.
Thanks again everyone and please stay tuned for our best efforts with daily blogs. Feel free to send this out to your networks and hope that we can provide you with as close of a first hand experience that we can. As said, once we can determine the best way to help, we will be let you know.