Quake aftermath: 'You just have to survive'
Residents walk past a damaged shop in Sendai, Japan, on Saturday, a day after an 8.9-magnitude quake and tsunami struck.
March 12th, 2011
11:35 PM ET

Quake aftermath: 'You just have to survive'

Millions of people have been affected after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on Friday. Hundreds have been killed, and many more are missing as aftershocks rock the country. Are you there? Send an iReport. Here are some personal stories from around the world:

Matthew Williams, 23, lives in Shin-Urayasu, Japan but is originally from Newport Beach, California. Williams was at work when the earthquake hit and was stuck there for eight hours until it was okay to for him to walk home. He took these pictures of the aftermath.

"We've been provided some water rations but only about one to two liters and still not sure when we are to get more," he said. "The city has told us we are able to take a bucket to the local elementary school to obtain some water, but the wait is about three hours."

Yoshi Ikeda, 34, works at the US Navy Base pool in Yokosuka, Japan. He took this video of water flowing out of the pools during the earthquake.

iReporter Wade Reed was on the U.S. Navy base in Miura City when the buildings starting to shake. It took him more than six hours to locate his wife and son. He said if the tsunami had been as violent in Miura as it was in other parts of Japan, he wouldn't have made it to his family in time.

"I was very worried for my son because his school had just let out at 2:45 and he was heading home. I went to the local train station to only find out that all the trains had stopped and there was no service. I had to walk to get to my wife's work and that took me almost two hours to get to her," he says. "We finally made it home about 2.5 hours later and still had to find my son. He was safe at his school but we again with traffic it took us some time to get to him.

"The Japanese people had fear on their faces and know one knew what was next. But I am lucky because we did get a little bit of the tsunami but nothing like what they got up north. I was very scared but I had to remain calm and think about the situation."

CNN iReporter Matteï Batruch took this picture of people stuck in a bank Saturday in downtown Tokyo after the earthquake.

CNN iReporter Christopher Marrs, 29, of California, is in Japan visiting family. Maars was at Disneyland when the earthquake hit. He is now on the Yokosuka Navy Base with his family.

"First I was OK, I have been though a lot of earthquakes but the earthquake kept going and seemed to gain momentum. I started getting very scared and the announcements were in Japanese so I didn't know what was going on. I am still scared. We just got out of the Disneyland resort area and took a Taxi cab to Yosuka Navy Base. I am now safe and on base with my family."

CNN iReporter Matteï Batruch, 20, a medical student living in Japan, filmed a calm Ueno rail station in Toyko the day of the quake. "No incidents, no insurrection, simply guidance offered by the local police trying their best at organizing such a massive crowd," Batruch said. "The delays on the train schedules led to thousands of people stranded in subway stations waiting to go home."

David Powell, an iReporter in Tokyo, shot photos around Japan on Saturday: "The grocery stores are pretty crowded with people trying to stock up and buy things that will probably start to run short.  Bread was very hard to find and dairy products were selling out," he said.

Long lines formed Saturday outside Tokyo-area bike shops as people stranded by Friday's quake and tsunami looked for ways to get home, The Japan Times reported.

Radiation levels have fallen at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, but the threat of leakage remains, Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, told CNN.

“At this time yesterday Japan had never declared a nuclear emergency before. Now they’ve declared five nuclear emergencies for each of these five nuclear reactors. The most serious is … the Daiichi facility,” he said.

Cirincione, whose group promotes a nuclear weapon-free world, said if officials “don’t get control of this and we go from a partial meltdown of the core to a full meltdown, this will be a complete disaster.”

– Nicky Washida, an iReporter in Tokyo, said the frequent aftershocks unnerve her children. "They were pretty upset, and my daughter in particular is very worried. ... We all slept together last night, to comfort the kids and just in case there were anymore aftershocks," she said.

Washida said she hasn't heard from friends in Sendai, a city hit hard by the quake and tsunami.

"The worst part for me was the noise  metal scraping, concrete banging, like nothing I have ever heard before, and yet another friend of mine across town told me that for her it was eerily quiet," Washida said.

Andy Clark told CNN he experienced the earthquake while at Narita International Airport near Tokyo. "The earth shook with such ferocity," he said. "I thought things were coming to an end. ... It was simply terrifying."

American Danny Joe Eudy, 52, and other subcontractors for GE Hitachi were doing maintenance work in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant when the quake and tsunami hit, said his wife, Janie, of Pineville, Louisiana.

Eudy and the other workers fled when the plant began to shake, his wife said. After staying overnight on the side of a mountain, the group was on the move for food and shelter Saturday, Eudy's wife said.

Vasily V. Titov, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Tsunami Research, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that Japan residents closest to the quake's epicenter had mere minutes before the initial tsunami wave.

“In Japan, the public is among the best educated in the world about earthquakes and tsunamis,” he told the Times. “But it’s still not enough time.”

A day after the disaster, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Jiloca was among hundreds of people who crowded the commissary Saturday at Misawa Air Base in Japan. “You just have to survive,” Jiloca told Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for military personnel. “It was scary," said the father, accompanied by his son and daughter, describing the aftershocks and power outage. "The kids were terrorized."

CNN iReporter Aryn Parker, 32, in Sagamihara said she was on a train headed to Tokyo's Shimo-Kitazawa Station when the earthquake struck.

"We were in the last car so we were the last to be evacuated. There was at least one passenger in our car that had a panic attack.  She was escorted out immediately," Parker said.

"During the earthquake, I was extremely frightened. I think the fact that we were on a bridge made the shaking that much worse. But everyone remained calm."

Parker said she stayed overnight at a cafe until train service resumed Saturday morning.

Weston Jensen, 28, another iReporter and a college student, said he was in a Starbucks in Toyko giving an English lesson when the ground started to shake.

Jensen said the quake wasn't his first, "but unlike the others it just kept getting worse and worse and there was a brief moment when (the recent earthquake in) New Zealand popped into my mind."

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. CIRG

    During this terrible tragedy we can say May God Help us and place us on a safe place.

    March 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • elaura adam

      Cirg, how lovely a prayer that is. You must believe GOD when GOD visits You !

      March 13, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bookenz

    This quake is throwing Charlie Sheen off of CNN. Imagine that.

    March 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jazz

    As much as we want to butcher Tom , he needs some prayers , he is the one to feel sorry for cause he will never see Gods eyes

    March 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Josh

      he can always make them with yarn and popsicle sticks

      March 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • elaura adam

      Josh, your a goof !

      March 13, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. cali

    good to see that no one is looting...

    March 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Timeswimmer

    There is only one comment to make: SOLAR POWER!

    March 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. banasy

    *Facepalm*

    March 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. yeah screw you tom

    If America had that kind of devastation there would be so much looting and chaos

    March 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. banasy

    @ysytom:
    Unfortunately for us, I have to agree. I remember the looting that went on when the Chicago Bulls won the championship for the first time...and it was supposed to be a *celebration!*

    Humanity can really suck at times...

    March 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. aida

    Isaiah 43 . I believe its a wrath from GOD ALMIGHTY TO REPENT AND THAT HE ALONE IS GOD AND THERE WILL BE NO OTHER.

    March 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Point of Order

    If you are going to hit the "report abuse" button, then do NOT comment on that nasty post, as it will quickly be deleted if enough people hit that button.

    Now we have a bunch of comments probably made by the same people who hit that "report abuse" button. For example, many people are complaining about a post made by a person named "Tom", yet there is now nothing to see and no complaint left to make.

    I hope everyone can see where I'm going with this....? Thanks.

    March 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Darth Godzilla

    The Force is strong with these people.

    March 13, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ed Bailey

    I am totally shocked someone hasn't mentioned pearl harbor yet. When the weak are at their most defenseless that's when the vultures show up. Learned that from living in utah.

    March 13, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. thesaneone

    Looks like Tom got what he wanted. Attention.

    March 13, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sarah

    May God be with us all. http://nopolicestate.blogspot.com

    March 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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