Good news for local family

When Sachi Otani turned on her television set on Friday, March 11 she was faced with images of devastation in her home town — Sendai, Japan.

Sendai was close to the epicentre of the 9.0 earthquake and was one of the hardest hit by the following tsunami.

Watching the destruction of her town was difficult, Otani said, but what was really tough was trying to get information about her friends and relatives in the area. Her sister, Yoshiko Oyama still lived in Sendai and, with communications down and the death toll rising, it was difficult not to fear the worst. 

“It was very hard,” the five-year Craig Bay resident said in halting English. “It was such a terrible earthquake. It was so hard to get hold of anybody. I was very worried.”

On Monday she got the first piece of rare good news from Japan.

“My sister was OK,” she said. “She doesn’t live on the coast. She was very frightened.”

She said her sister described a scene of utter devastation.

“There was no power, no gas, no water,” she said. 

“Several hundred bodies were found on the coast. It’s very miserable.”

Later, Otani received a second piece of good news. Her grand-niece’s father had been working in an office on the coast at Sendai and had not been heard from since the quake. 

However, Otani received a call from his wife to tell her he had been rescued from a rooftop by a helicopter and was safe.

“I am very relieved,” Otani said, noting that the danger to her relatives remains far from over. “We are very anxious about the nuclear reactors and the aftershocks. It is very worrying.”


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