Japan Earthquake Makes Local Impact

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email
The disaster in the Pacific is even making an impact in Kansas, with local families waiting to hear from loved ones, and disaster relief bracing to respond.

People watch the aftermath of tsunami tidal waves covering a port at Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, after strong earthquakes hit the area Friday, March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Keichi Nakane, The Yomiuri Shimbun) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

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March 11, 2011

It was an alarming wake-up call for Benjamin Seevers Friday morning. He is a Wichita State student, but growing up, he called Japan home.

"Initially when I turned on the news they never said where it was. It was just, 'earthquake in Japan, devastating earthquake in Japan, biggest earthquake ever in Japan,'" said Seevers.

Exactly where the earthquake hit was vital information for Seevers, as his parents live just outside Tokyo. Eventually he learned they were safe from harm, but not from the impact of the disaster.

"Talking to my dad, he said that this was definitely the biggest thing he had ever felt," said Seevers.

Despite the magnitude of the earthquake, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is still just on standby, waiting to see if Japan will need help.

Cots, blankets, and other items needed for shelter are among the first items the Red Cross says Japan may need. But before shipping out from Wichita, the organization says it will lend help from warehouses closer to the actual disaster site.

"We're still in the initial stages of just getting information and seeing how bad the destruction was," said American Red Cross Spokesman James Williams.

The local branch of the Red Cross says it may not need to provide much assistance, as the Japanese Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies were well prepared for this type of situation.

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