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ECTC promotes tsunami awareness, support

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By Amber Coulter

Ryoko Myers of Elizabethtown and Tomoko Lynch of Big Clifty haven’t seen much lately on the news about the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, where they still have family and friends.

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It seems to them that coverage after the disaster quickly turned to concern about an unstable nuclear reactor and then faded away altogether.

The information relayed to them from family and friends caused the women, who have children in Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s Japanese School, to join in the school’s effort Saturday to raise money for disaster relief in Japan. The money will go to the American Red Cross because transporting items to the disaster zone is difficult.

The event primarily was staged by members and supporters of the Japanese School, who didn’t lose family members in the disaster but wanted to support the cause.

There are still victims living in shelters and many don’t have the means or assistance to find new permanent residences, Myers said.
“They have to find where to live from nothing,” she said.

Lynch added that many volunteers and doctors are getting tired, and some victims are still suffering from mental trauma. Some survivors who experienced aftershocks thought they could feel shaking later when there was none, and now they can’t feel tremors that exist, she said.

Needed items such as gas and toilet paper also are hard to come by, Lynch said.

“For some people, everything is gone,” she said.

Myers said she hopes the event reminded people about the need in Japan.

“I hope they will understand this is not only one-time help and keep supporting Japan,” she said.

Film of the disaster played on a wall in a room in which people silently bid on items such as an origami collection, tea sets and baskets.

Also in the room were cards created by Japanese School students that said they were sorry the disaster happened and the victims were in their thoughts. There was a box where visitors could write their own encouraging messages.

Meyers said she hopes the messages and financial support have a positive impact on those affected by the disaster.

“I hope they will feel that someone is supporting them so they are not alone,” she said. “They can have hope.”

Bill and Beth Cahaney of Shepherdsville were among those bidding on items to support the cause.

“It’s just people in need of help,” Bill Cahaney said.

Organizers also tried to show Japanese culture through an exposition of traditional swordplay. They also sang and cheered in support for the cause.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746.