A 3am Phone Call Home: Kana’s Story Part 1

Medical staff screen people who are concerned over radiation exposure in Niigata, northern Japan March 16, 2011. Photo: Reuters
Medical staff screen people who are concerned over radiation exposure in Niigata, northern Japan March 16, 2011. Photo: Reuters

I received an email today from a Japanese student at Santa Monica College named Kana Igarashi. She shared this personal account of speaking to her mother, who is in Fukushima, the location of the nuclear plants that are currently in danger:

I talked to my mom for the second time this morning( 3AM in Japan) because she could not call me in the day time since everybody in Japan was trying to make phone calls. She told me some sad facts that the medias have been pointing fingers at the people working at the power plants in Fukushima and have been making judgements about how those people who risked their lives to stop the explosion of nuclear radiation and were harmed from the blast “could have stopped it and could have done it better.” Many people are hesitant to get close to our prefecture, Fukushima, where the nuclear power stations are, even though there are many people who are still waiting for help.. Do not treat us like we are the plague. Many people are still alive with no food, no water, and no electricity right now. But these people’s lives are not going to last long unless somebody gives them some help as soon as possible. I am so frustrated that I cannot do anything right now except donate money.

Money will help Japan in the future…so thank you very much for those who already donated the money for Japan.. this is sad to think about, but who knows that if that money will be sent to those cities that really need money, while many people think it is very dangerous for people to get closer to my prefecture?

To the media, do you know what people in Japan actually want to watch or hear? It is the information that will give each and every family peace of mind….it is the reassurance that their family is still alive. Let them say “I am alive. So do not worry about me!” to their family and their friends. It won’t take 1 minute to say that. That’s the first thing people want to know when their family lives nearby the worst damaged city…. of course, I appreciated the news for the first few days.. but do not report the same disaster video again and again.. It just makes people feel depressed. That is a personal message from my mom.

Why do people have to wait for hours to get a chance, which might not work, to call their relatives or friends when there are many cameras which are constantly showing us what is happening in real time. Use that camera to broadcast more about the victims’ status. Please..

I also felt the same when I could not get contact with my family for almost 24 hours while the tv news was on the whole time..

My sister’s friend passed away from this earthquake.. when people found her, she was holding her sister’s hand and they were under the avalanche from a mountain. We can assume that they were trying to run away together, but they were too late.

I cannot imagine that more and more people are still under their houses and under mud since over thousand people are still missing in Fukushima. This is too sad.

My mom was saying that there is no more gas, not just in my hometown but also in other prefectures.. So all they can do is to wait until somebody gives them water and food. They need gasoline… in order to drive to get some food, in order to carry food and water to those people who really need it, in order to get warmth through the cold nights with snow( the north part of Japan is much colder than you expect in Cali) and in order to drive to the safer areas away from the radiation power station areas. After the unexpected explosions, people who live near by the first, second, and third radiation power station areas rushed to drive to the safer areas. However, because of the lack of gasoline, even though they wanted to get away from the dangerous areas, some people could not make it, and they decided to stay in their car instead of going to safer places. Please do not forget that there are many people who have not given up on their lives, yet are trying to survive this situation.