A devastating earthquake and tsunami which has killed and dislocated thousands in Japan hits close to home for some Bulkley Valley families.
For instance the Meyer family of Nick, Mika and baby Ruby-Mei watch the news closely as they have close family that live in Japan.
Mika, a Japanese-Canadian, and her family just arrived back to their home in Telkwa after spending the days following the earthquake with her parents in Richmond. Her parents had just returned from Japan a day before the disaster.
They took advantage of satellite television to watch the coverage on the news.
There are still more they know in Japan.
“All my aunts and uncles, cousins, friends are still all back there,” said Mika.
Fortunately most of the family lives around Tokyo which was spared the worst of the earthquake, but the effects are felt.
She said that the power goes off for three hours a day in order to conserve electricity in the wake of uncertainty around the country’s power plants.
News on TV and online is hard to take in for Mika and Nick, both who have spent lots of time in the country.
“I really got to experience the culture first hand and you really realize, like, when something like this happens it’s close to home,” said Nick. “This is just on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.”
What the family is calling on is for people to support the relief effort.
“The biggest thing people can do right now is just donate to the Red Cross,” said Mika, after being told from friends in Japan that that would be the best thing to do.
Family friend Miyoshi Fukado, who was born in Japan, is also calling for Canadians to help out the cause.
Although she immigrated from a more southern region of Japan than where the earthquake took place, she, like many others, have friends and family in areas that have been more affected.
“[My family] e-mails me how it’s going there,” she said.
She hears that line ups at the gas stations are quite long and that there is not so much food on the store shelves.
In Japan, they say a very strong sense of unity is developing in the aftermath of the disasters.
“I believe that Japan will be stronger and more unified,” said Miyoshi about the country once the Japanese are able to pull themselves up.
There are many ways people can help support the relief in Japan. While Red Cross has been the one recommended by Mika, they’re not the only ones out there.
The CBC News website cbc.ca/japanrelief provides a list of organizations that people can contact to provide support.
Additional information on Canada’s response to the earthquake can be found online at international.gc.ca
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