Little did I know that 5 months later an Earthquake would hit the area of Japan I had visited. Little news has come out about Shichigahama Japan, the coastal town that is a sister town with Plymouth. Reports have come in of towns north and south that have been totally wiped away into the sea because of the Tsunami.
If you also read back on my blogs about my trip to Japan, you will see the topic of conversation when we visited the Fire Department. Their biggest concern of safety was earthquake preparedness. Also, when we went to the town hall, we were invited to see some middle school children present to their town officials a project they did, which included simulating an earthquake and living in emergency conditions all day at school as a drill.
I have found out this morning that our translator, Marti (from the USA) is reported to be safe. I am not sure of her circumstances. Jamie Rosenberg, another translator who worked with other Plymouth groups in Shichigahama reports:
"There seems to have been very major damage to Sendai, and a lot of deaths in the area close to where I used to live, but I have not been able to contact anyone in the town, yet. I have heard reports on the news of a tsunami as high as 10 meters, and those who have been to Shichigahama know that our tsunami walls are only about 2 meters high at their highest. The Kokusaimura is a designated tsunami and earthquake refuge area, and Town Hall just had his earthquake proofing redone less than a month ago. The earthquake struck while most people we know were at work or school, so it's likely that they were safe in reinforced areas."
The waiting for information is difficult. My thoughts and prayers are with the new friends that I met in Japan and their families.
There is always Hope. I believe in Miracles.