Japanese student at Delaware organizing local relief effort

Nearly 7-thousand miles away, Japanese students at the University of Delaware can’t help but worry about their families back home.

Student Megumi Yoshigai’s parents, who live in Kyoto, 363 miles outside of Sendai, are safe, but the sophomore feels awful for those suffering in her home country.

“I try not to see too much videos or pictures, even though I want to get the news as soon as possible, but every time I see the picture every day that makes me worry even more,” said Megumi.

Channeling her emotions, Yoshigai is now trying to spearhead some type of local relief effort for the victims of last week’s destructive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on Japan’s northeastern coastline.

“American Red Cross agreed to put their sign on our flyer or poster for fundraising. So as soon as our location decided, we are going to stand in front of a store and start fundraising activity,” said Megumi, who’s also working closely with university leaders on a campus-wide relief effort.

UD has about 52 students from Japan, which includes undergrads, graduate students and those from the English Language Institute.

There are also five American students studying in Japan from the University of Delaware. Three attend Seinan University in Fukoka in southwestern Japan. Two others attend Soka University in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo. The university says it’s leaving the decision up to the students on what they should do, but the Foreign Studies Department is advising students to keep on top of advisories and take the necessary steps needed if they need to leave the country quickly. One student in the program has already returned. Another student is leaving Tuesday. The other three students are making plans for departure.

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