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Madison Murphy '08 Offers Firsthand Account of Natural Disaster in Japan

Madison Murphy '08 Offers Firsthand Account of Natural Disaster in Japan

March 15, 2011

92122March 15, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "I was in the teacher's office chatting with another teacher about her plans for the weekend when we felt the shaking start," 2008 DePauw University graduate Madison Murphy tells Plano, Texas' Frisco Enterprise.  Murphy lives in Erimo, Japan, where she teaches English as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Of Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, she says, "This was unlike any of the previous earthquakes we have experienced because the shaking was so prolonged. There was never any confusion. People knew what was happening, they knew how to react and they stayed calm."

A tsunami warning followed, and Murphy says everyone was alerted to move to higher ground.  "The tsunami caused more damage to my town than the earthquake," she tells the newspaper. "The earthquake caused the road to buckle in a few areas, but the building regulations here are very strict so things here are built to withstand powerful earthquakes. However, nothing is built to withstand a tsunami. The tsunami ruined a few buildings close to the water and also ruined a few roads. One of our roads has cracked, spread and dissolved in areas. Everybody in my town is safe and physically unharmed and the process of rebuilding has already begun. Some of the buildings that were ruined have been dismantled and are now being rebuilt."

A communication major at DePauw, Murphy adds, "People are saying it will take time to rebuild the country both physically and emotionally. People are sad, but they are patient and grateful for all the help pouring in across the world. The scope of the damage is constantly growing wider, and the news channels are continually updating and reporting the status of search and rescue efforts. The news is becoming unbearable to watch. For every rescue story there are hundreds of deaths reported."

You'll find the complete story at the Enterprise's website.