The many cultural, business and personal ties between Japan and Western Pennsylvania have focused intense local interest on every bit of news about the earthquake, tsunamis, and nuclear dangers.
Brenda Jordan is Japan Studies Coordinator with Pitt’s Asian Studies Center. She and her husband, who is from Japan, are hearing from friends and relatives that buildings are withstanding the many strong aftershocks but the death toll will soar because entire villages, trapped in valleys between mountains, were wiped out by the tsunamis.
Jordan says all possible preventive measures are being taken to avert nuclear disaster, including destroying the reactors by flooding them with seawater and dispensing iodine pills to prevent thyroid cancer. She says events at the nuclear facility are unprecedented because tsunamis kept safety mechanisms from working. Prevailing winds over Japan tend to blow east out to sea at night but back over land during the day, according to Jordan.
For people in the Pittsburgh region who want to help, she suggests donations of money to Pittsburgh’s Brother’s Brother Foundation.