By Carolyn Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
With the death toll rising to more than 4,000 as aftershock victims are claimed by the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, various UA students are concerned for friends and family they have been trying to contact.
Yoshihide Shinshi, a hydrology graduate student, said the few relatives he has been able to reach have suffered broken furniture and are now required to wear shoes, a foreign idea to most Japanese.
"Since the earthquake happened so early in the morning, very few people were up and about. If the earthquake had happened two hours later, the destruction would have been 10 times as great," Shinshi said.
Kazunari Fukumura, an agricultural and biosystems engineering graduate student, has parents who live in the neighboring city of Osaka and were awakened by the first rumbles of the earthquake.
Like many Osakans living on the west side of the city, Fukumura's parents were anxious to find refuge from the quake and prepare themselves for the aftershocks.
Fukumura has experienced several earthquakes in Japan, and said that earthquakes are a part of life there.
Anastasia Moreno, a geology junior from Okinawa island, has been unable to reach friends in Kobe. She recently returned from Osaka and Kobe after Christmas vacation.
"In all the schools in Japan the students are taught what to do when a earthquake starts . but they weren't expecting such a big earthquake in Kobe, because it is much more inland and not on the coast where previous earthquakes have struck," Moreno said.
Yoshiharu Niwa, a visiting professor from Kansai University in Osaka, said he is scared there will be more damage because of aftershocks. His house in Osaka where his wife and two children live was shaken but no irreparable damage was done.
"My 16-year-old daughter experienced a horrible earthquake when she was born. She is so terrified now that she can't sleep and refuses to go to school," Niwa said.
He was able to contact his family Wednesday night, the first time since the earthquake struck early Tuesday morning.
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