Texas A&M Japanese Community Reacting to Earthquake Disaster

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We've all been kind of mesmerized by the shear magnitude of the damage in Japan, but think for a moment what it's like if you're watching your home from thousands of miles away.

News 3 talked to a Texas A&M student from Japan Monday who's going through that emotion.

Kotaro Yamafune learned about the earthquake over the weekend on a friend's Facebook page.

Monday he spoke about what's happening back home and how he hopes to raise awareness for those who are now struggling to survive.

It's the biggest earthquake in Japan's history and we still don't know the full scale of the catastrophe.

Kotaro Yamafune is a grad student at Texas A&M. He calls Osaka, Japan home.

"Nobody did expect the kind of damage, I was so surprised and sad," said Kotaro Yamafune, a Texas A&M Graduate Student studying Nautical Archaeology.

He staying in close contact with family back home who are about a 10 hour drive from the area most affected.

"My friends and families are fine but my mom's friends are not sure can't contact, the telephone system in Japan is shut down right now," he said.

Yamafune is a member of the Japan Club at A&M. He met with other members over the weekend to begin efforts to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis on the other side of the Pacific. Starting next week he hopes to have students sign a Japanese flag and send it to the Japanese Red Cross.

"We'd like to pass out flyers that provide information about reliable organizations that we can do some donations to Japan," said Yamafune.

George Adams is a Japanese Lecturer at A&M and lived in that country for more than a decade. Fortunately all of his colleagues have also been accounted.

"Now if folks want to help they can go online to Facebook, look for the Japan Club, the Texas A&M Facebook page there's a site where they can make donations directly to a Japanese source which can use the money immediately," said George Adams.

Just a few buildings down in Bizzell Hall, International Operations Assistant V.P. Suzanne Droleskey has been checking on students currently studying abroad south of Tokyo and luckily away from the center of destruction.

"We identified that there are two students in Japan right now and we know that both of them are ok and have been in contact also with their families," said Suzanne Droleskey, Ph.D.

"More than 10,000 people lost their friends, families, they just need help so if you know how to support them please do that," said Kotaro Yamafune.

News 3 will keep you updated on upcoming plans on campus as they are announced.