Japanese students at PSU struggle to reach loved ones

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by Ed Teachout, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM

PORTLAND – Portland State University has strong ties to Japan and has been doing what it can to help students find out if their loved ones are okay, following Friday’s devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

Nearly 200 Japanese students are currently enrolled at PSU. Monday, the International Student Lounge was filled with concerned students trying to communicate with family members and friends.

The university also sent out emails to all Japanese students to inquire whether they needed help contacting or finding loved ones. Administrators said so far, they haven’t heard about any students losing family members in the tragedy.

Yuko Amano was one of the few people who actually got through to her family on the phone in Tokyo. She was relieved to hear their voices and learn they too, were okay.

“I could hear they were scared from their voices - like they were shocked and scared. My sister was at home alone and I was really worried for her," Amano said.

One former PSU student also at the lounge said her father has been scrambling to find food, water and other essentials for her mom and two brothers in the hardest hit area of Sendai. They were all very shaken up, but alive.

“Their house is ok. It's just inside the house that is a mess. Their lights came off and all the glass is everywhere and windows broken," Mizuho Brown said.

There are currently eight PSU exchange students living in Japan. University officials said that they had all been accounted for and are safe.

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