World stunned by devastation following Japan earthquake; City College reacts


By The Guardsman

The world is reeling after one of the most powerful earthquakes ever measured struck off the coast of Japan late in the evening of March 10, California time.

The 8.9 magnitude quake stuck mid-afternoon on March 11, Japan time, about 75 miles off the country’s eastern coast. Initial death toll reports are in the low hundreds, but the New York Times reported that Japanese officials expect it to top 1,000 in the coming days.

The earthquake started large fires and knocked out power and communications throughout Japan. Skyscrapers in Tokyo, built to withstand the strongest tremors, swayed in the sky. Then, less than 30 minutes later, the tsunami hit.

People around the world watched live video feeds of the wave carrying semi trucks, houses and flaming rubble across the flat farmland of Japan.

The tsunami reached California shores the morning of March 11, ravaging ports and washing one man out to sea, as those who missed the previous evening’s coverage were awakening to images of the destruction in Japan.

“This earthquake will not just affect Japan,” City College student Sue Zhang said. “It will affect the entire world.”

As the Japanese prepare for the massive and sorrowful task of recovering from this devastation, City College students and faculty with friends and family in Japan reacted to the tragedy. Read their statements below:

“My cousins felt the earthquake. One cousin was going to Tokyo when he felt it. The phone lines and trains are down,” 20-year-old Yeong Lee said. “He can not get out to go home.”

“I was really worried about it,” Tohta Morimoto said. “It didn’t hit Tokyo directly, so I was kind of relieved. But I still felt bad because it was a huge earthquake, and a lot of people are gonna die.”

“It happened in my country,” City College foreign language instructor Keiko Sato said. “I hope everyone is okay in Japan. I heard the Tokyo shake was quite big. My brother said he couldn’t keep standing; he had to sit or hold on to something.”

“I was so shocked last night, one of my friends, a classmate from China was online chatting with me when all the sudden she said ‘There was just a big shake..and another big shake..everything is shaking!’” City College librarian Yi Liang said. “She was so scared she ran out of the house with her children and called her husband who works in Tokyo. He couldn’t evacuate because the trains are all out of service now. No transportation is working.”

“It’s crazy that warnings are coming so close to us here,” Julio Cayetano said. “Also how strong the tsunami is can be scary because I have a friend stationed in Okinawa. He is ok but said he’s still aware of the danger. We are staying in contact through facebook.”

Overseas reporting compiled from the New York Times and Al Jazeera English. California tsunami coverage from SFgate.

Journalism 21 students Christopher Torres, Essie Harris, Maria Vallejo, Ryan Mock, Lauer Saidy, and Sam Millward-Zoll contributed to this report.


The Guardsman