People of Japan need Canada’s aid

We just saw your online news article about helping the town of Onagawa. Our son was lost in the earthquake. For three days we weren’t sure if he was alive as he was in the worst hit part of Japan. After finally talking to him when he was rescued, the last thing he said to me was “Mom, tell the rest of the WORLD, we need HELP.”

We just saw your online news article about helping the town of Onagawa.

Our son was lost in the earthquake. For three days we weren’t sure if he was alive as he was in the worst hit part of Japan. After finally talking to him when he was rescued, the last thing he said to me was “Mom, tell the rest of the WORLD, we need HELP.”

So here’s his story:

My son has been the English teacher for JET for the last 2½ years. Mike has really made Japan his home. He lived in the small fishing village of Onagawa population 10,000. He taught at three different schools, one in Onagawa, one in Ishinomaki, one on a very small island, Izushima.

He has always talked about the student trips to Nelson that the kids go on. He has helped them to learn English so they could use it in Nelson. We visited our son Mike there last year and met so many of the wonderful people of Onagawa.

On Fridays he would take the ferry to his island school to teach the 25 students there. Last Friday he was there when the quake hit. All his fellow teachers and students lived though the quake and the tsunami. The school is situated on a high hill. They survived for two days until they were rescued by helicopter and flown to an evacuation center in Ishinomaki. The population of the island is 600. He said he believes they got 200 out alive.

His girlfriend was at his apartment in Onagawa when the warning sounded. She went to the local school playground which is the meeting place for emergencies. Everyone was thinking that it wasn’t serious. Then they saw the water coming! They all started running!

They ran to the end of the road and the water was still coming. They split into two groups and started to climb the hill. She was climbing with a group of about 15 people. She was in panic mode and didn’t look back, just kept climbing, till there was nothing left to climb. She finally looked back and everyone else was washed away.

The whole town was washed away. She was rescued two days later and taken to the same evacuation center in Ishinomaki, which was in the Sekisho High School. Most of the city of 150,000 people was also washed away. Mike said he had no food, very little water and only a piece of cardboard on the cement to lay on. They finally found each other on Monday.

A fellow JET English teacher who lives in Sendai was worried about all his friends from that area, and having a car he decide to drive to Ishinomaki to see if he could find anyone. He bought Mike and his girlfriend back to Sendai with him. A trip that should of taken 1½ hours took them over 4½ hours and was very dangerous.

They are now staying at her apartment in Sendai that thankfully is fully intact. They have electricity. They have running water but not drinking water. They have no way of heating or cooking food. The gas is off. They have to go out to try to find food. They have no heat.

The apartment is about 250 square feet and there are four of them staying there. They all sleep with their clothes on just in case…the fear never goes away. But our son is the first to say how lucky they are!

I have contacted every Canadian government department that I thought would be able to help him. He has no passport, no transportation and only the clothes on his back.

Even though he is lucky enough not to have to stay in an evacuation center, he needs assistance.

I am shocked at this low level of help for the Canadians in this disaster. I don’t expect him to be flown home, but to help him get a passport and transportation to an airport seems pretty basic to me.

But the main reason I’m writing to you is to ask for help for the Japanese people. I realized that we might not be able to send heavy lifting equipment but surely the Canadian government can send food, medical supplies or even just blankets! Even India is doing that!

I have heard that the Canadian public have raised $1 million so far but that our government have refused to match any donations. So please get the word out.

Let’s all help and maybe if we embarrass good old Steve Harper he’ll actually do the right thing and help the people of Japan. I know that if or when the big one hits Canada, the Japanese will be here for us! Thank you for any help you can give us.

John and Susanne Luzia, Abbotsford