Japanese nationals feel disaster’s effects
April 13, 2011
Filed under News
Japan was struck by an 8.9 earthquake and tsunamis on March 11. Since then, the Fukishima nuclear reactor has began to leak.
In response, Bakersfield College has been working to aid both Japan and students at BC affected by the disasters.
International student counselor Shoreh Rahman has established a foreign students-help emergency fund.
While a few hundred dollars have been donated to the fund, according to Rahman, a majority of the support from faculty has come in different ways.
“There are a couple faculty who have [donated] more than just money. Faculty have sent letters supporting students along with providing them food and shelter,” she said.
Rahman went on to say that students dealing with a crisis in their country of origin could add stress to a student’s life.
“When a crisis happens in the home country of a student it causes enormous emotional stress for students,” she said. “It’s really, really hard for them. It’s hard for them to study, their immigration status could be affected, their financial situation gets affected. It definitely affects the whole person.”
Rahman said that when a crisis happens in an international student’s country of origin, the first thing to do is make sure they will be able to continue their education in the United States,
Also around campus, the Bakersfield College Republican club has organized a bake sale for the relief effort.
Not just students have been impacted by the string of disasters in Japan. BC Japanese professor Yuri Sakamaki was emotionally affected by the disasters, comparing it to an earthquake she experienced firsthand while in Japan herself.
“I was in Osaka when a big earthquake in Kobe happened in 1994,” Sakamaki said. “The earthquake this time is said to be 1,000 times stronger than the one in Kobe. I just can’t imagine how scary things must have been.
“There is something fundamentally unnerving about the ground you are standing on shaking. You feel helpless because there is nowhere you can escape to.”
While Sakami is concerned for the safety of those in Japan, some residents of the country affected are more optimistic.
Miyuki Tsukada, of Keio University in Kanagawa, contacted through Facebook, said, “I wasn’t harmed at all by the earthquake and neither were many of the people around me. We are more into caring and helping the people who were actually harmed, than we are fearful that at anytime another big earthquake can hit Tokyo. ”
Tsukada also said that the concerns over radiation are not having much of an impact on the way day-to-day business occurs in Japan.
“The radiation flowing in the air so far doesn’t damage our health, so we still go out and hang out with our friends,” said Tsukada. “However, I do feel that there used to be more people in the subways. Some people care about being affected, which we don’t, and don’t come outside.
“It’s pretty sad that everyone in the world now thinks that Japan is a dangerous country that no one really wants to visit. Because that is not true, Tokyo is totally fine. The earthquake hit the northern area of Japan, not where the politics and economy take its place.”