Stranded people stand in a line to use public telephone at a train station after subway and train services were suspended after an earthquake in Tokyo, March 11, Photo: Reuters
The Vietnamese students living in Aomori Prefecture, which neighbors Sendai City, the area most affected by the earthquake, are just happy to be still alive.
Ngoc Hoa, who has lived the past few days thinking she would die, said she would finish her study in Japan though her loved ones told her to go back to Vietnam.
“This experience is making me stronger,” she said.
Finding herself safe in the midst of destruction, Hoa’s heart cries out for the Japanese.
Hoa was in her room on the 5th floor when the first quake struck. The whole city of Aomori was blacked out soon afterwards.
Without electricity and water, Hoa and other students huddled at night, sharing with each other the small meals that the university managed to scrap together.
But Hoa said she was lucky as the university was situated on a high ground far away from the sea.
“Those who live near the sea saw their houses collapse, their cars swept away by the Tsunami,” Hoa said. “Fire broke out in many places. A lot of people went missing or died, mostly the elderly.”
As she was talking to Tuoi Tre, Hoa said she was still expecting another quake any moment.
And so was Tran Viet Ha, a student at Aomori Chuo Gakuin University.
“I had never been so scared in my whole life,” Ha recalled her traumatic experience.
She was on the 7th floor of her dorm when the first quake hit. Like other students, Ha tried to run out of the building as quickly as she could.
Not until she was outside did she realize she was standing bare-footed in heavy snow with scanty clothes on.
Watching the building shake violently in a -50 Celsius Degree cold, many students broke out crying.
Ha and her friends didn’t sleep that night, for fear they wouldn’t run out of the building in time when another quake came.
“Luckily we’re storing enough food and beverage now,” Ha said. But she doesn’t know how soon all of this will end. “TV has said there will be more tsunamis.”