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Thursday, March 17, 2011

PITT-BRADFORD’S SISTER UNIVERSITY WEATHERS QUAKE, TSUNAMI

PITT-BRADFORD’S SISTER UNIVERSITY WEATHERS QUAKE, TSUNAMI

BRADFORD, Pa. – For Dr. Fumio Kobayashi, visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, being away from his home in Japan in the wake of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami is difficult.

He is comforted by the knowledge that his family, city and school, Pitt-Bradford’s sister school in Japan, Yokohama College of Commerce, made it through the crisis relatively unscathed.

Yokohama, where YCC is located, is part of the Tokyo metropolitan area, a half-hour train ride from the capital. It’s about 200 miles from the areas of Japan that have been dealing with the effects of a 34-foot-high tsunami and problems with nuclear reactors.

Friday morning’s quake, however, did hit Yokohama and continues to. Kobayashi said there has been little damage in the city because most buildings were constructed after the destruction of World War II to withstand an earthquake, but aftershocks continue to hit at a rate of about two per hour, according to his wife and daughter.

At the time of the quake last Friday, YCC, which is primarily a commuter school, was on break.

There were, however, about 40 students, faculty and staff who were on campus at the time of the quake, according to Dr. Masato Kobayashi (no relation), dean of the commercial department at YCC.

The dean reported that those there at the time were not injured and that there was no damage to school buildings.

Because of quake damage, trains stopped running for the evening, and about 10 students stranded at YCC for the night spent it in the guest house used by Pitt-Bradford students when they visit YCC.

Fumio Kobayashi said he continues to get reports from his family by phone and e-mail. He said that some stores in Yokohama have sold out of essential items such as rice, water, bread and milk.

“This is because of problems with transportation,” he said, “because such items are usually supplied by northern Japan.”

Rolling blackouts have begun in the metro area to help the country deal with the lack of power caused by the triple disaster. The blackouts have also caused some railroad lines to cancel services.

Despite the obstacles, YCC will open for its new term April 1 as previously scheduled, he said.

“I am very appreciative of the very warm encouragement from many Pitt-Bradford faculty, staff and students (who have started collecting donations for the victims of the Tohoku Pacific Offshore Earthquake),” he said. “We YCC members will not forget your kindness.”

Students from the Anthropology and International Studies Club, Asian Student Alliance and Japanese Arts and Media Club have been collecting donations this week to be sent to the Real Medicine Foundation, which specializes in tsunami relief efforts.

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Praying daily for the citizens of Japan who have lost so much.

Anonymous said...

Me too 10:08!