Asian American Journalists Cover Earthquake and Tsunami Destruction in Japan

It has been over 24 hours since the devastating 8.9 Sendai earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I’ve been glued to NHK World and Twitter to get the latest news.

At the same time that Japanese officials are calling for people in northeastern/coastal regions of Japan to evacuate and get to higher ground, I have been watching American journalists stationed in Japan (mostly Tokyo), being dispatched toward Sendai and Fukushima, the most devastated areas of the quake. Via AAJA, a list of Asian American journalists covering the Japanese quake was compiled by former AAJA National President Sharon Chan. Current AAJA National President Doris Truong has compiled a twitter list (that you can follow) of these same folks.

Some of the most compelling coverage comes directly from the journalists as they tweet about the difficulties of even reaching the devastated areas.

ABC reporter Akiko Fujita, whose coverage can be seen on ABC News with Diane Sawyer has been tweeting about the gridlock in Tokyo and the breakdown of the Japanese transportation infrastructure as the train system has been shut down.

Daisuke Wakabayashi, who covers technology for the Wall Street Journal, has also been dispatched toward Sendai and has faced gridlock, long gas lines, shortages of food and water, buckled roads, and aftershocks. He has spent the better part of a day trying to get as close to Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture as possible. For much of the last 24 hours, a lot of concern has been directed at the Fukushima nuclear plants, which have been under various states of distress, with the “Number One” (Daiichi) plant being for the biggest concern for nuclear meltdown. Daisuke has been driving through/by Fukushima, enroute to Sendai. After 15 hours of being on the road, he tweeted, “We’re at a critical junction. Sendai is less than 100 km away, but we are at about 2/3 gas. If we try to get gas now (and there is no guarantee that we will get it), we might lose the last few hours of light. With no electricity in the area, that is a problem too.

Kyung Lah of CNN is also enroute to Sendai, but says that she was “Seeing cracks along houses. I’m 200 km outside of Sendai. Gas and water in short supply.” “Residents say we can’t access Sendai bc of the damage. I’m going to give it my best and try to cover this appropriately but safely.”

As the aftermath of this tragedy continues to play out, I am grateful for the hard work that journalists are doing to disseminate important information to the world.

My deepest condolences to those affected. The Red Cross is accepting donations specifically for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami online or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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