Triple disaster

March 17, 2011 at 11:34 am (News) (, , )

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday. Then a tsunami reached the island nation’s shores, also spreading out across the Pacific. Now, the country is battling with a nuclear plant that was badly damaged when the ground shook. It’s awful. 

Thousands died. Millions more are without water, electricity. Many have evacuated south over fears of radiation.

I’ve written a total of three stories on the disasters so far, and I’m working on a fourth this afternoon. Several local residents have connections to Japan – family, friends, relatives. One woman I spoke to last week had no idea if her aunt had escaped the giant waves that flooded her hometown. I’ve been in daily contact with a Long Sault couple, who are constantly trying to communicate with their son, Justin Bethune. He has been teaching in Japan for more than two years . . . the earthquake shook his school, the tsunami nearly reached his apartment. He spent eight hours on the road to get out of the city, and is now in Tokyo waiting out the nuclear dangers. He sent me an email late last night, detailing his experiences since the quake struck on Friday afternoon. It’s horrifying.

I find consolation in knowing that Japan has the money, organization and resources necessary to rebuild. But with three disasters hitting with no time to breathe in between, it’s no wonder officials are overwhelmed.

Though I am, of course, concerned and prayerful about the developing situation, I also appreciate the opportunity to cover international issues like these. It’s a chance for a small-town reporter to reach into the global community and be a part of breaking news, while still holding on to the deeply local connection.

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