Shocked South Africans tell of Japan quake

2011-03-13 10:18

Carel van Renen, a teacher in Tokyo

"I was on my way to work in my car. There was no rumbling…everything just started shaking. At first I thought the wheels were falling off. People ran out of their homes and everything shook around me."

"When it was over, I drove to the kindergarten where I was to teach and along with the teachers I tried to calm down the children on the playground outside. Just then, the next big tremor came…"

"To see the fear on the faces of the adults upset me a bit because the Japanese are 'used' to earthquakes. It is difficult to describe the situation across the whole country. For example, I was unable to sleep because there were another more than 50 tremors."

"The shop shelves are becoming emptier…fuel is also running out, so I'm back on my bike."

Carina van der Watt and Dr Stephan van der Watt, Tokushima:

"Words can't describe it...not even images can. Shortly after the first tremor, we ensured all our emergency supplies were ready. Sendai is completely devastated. The hills there are surrounded by water."

"People are trapped and are surviving on melted snow for water. They have to spend another night in fear and insecurity. Some are trapped on the roofs of buildings, in icy water. We were thrown on the floor but not destroyed."

Neal Muragan from Johannesburg, in the Nagano Prefecture

"I'm ok, but badly shocked. The atmosphere is sombre. The aftershocks keep coming. Two of over 6. We barely sleep, our nerves are shot. Sendai has been destroyed. Japanese officials are extremely well-organised, well-prepared."

"There are teams checking the gas and electricity lines. Sorry for the stammering. I'm not sleeping. I'm in tremendous shock."



  • twolips - 2011-03-13 10:27

    I'm glad you're all ok, even though traumatised. My thoughts are with you.

      TheNewSA - 2011-03-13 16:11

      It means a lot more than your useless post c_fold

      keesstevens - 2011-03-13 17:03

      I suppose when you experience a personal tragedy c_fold, you'd expect people to say, "Who cares? Sort yourself out mate, I could care less if your son/daughter/husband/wife or all of them were killed in a horrific accident."

      AJ - 2011-03-14 06:27

      @c_fold, I think it is called 'expressing sympathy' or just plain old 'being nice'. It is still allowed (and appreciated), even in this day and age.

      Viva Mangope - 2011-03-14 10:32

      c_fold ,the saying comes from a religuis aspect ,,u will actuall assist this person by praying for them

  • Snoopy88 - 2011-03-13 10:31

    Awe is not a big enough word for how I regard mother nature after seeing aerial footage of the Tsunami. There is not enough money, technology, power or military might that can protect us from mother nature... Very, very humbling. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

  • Jack Anon - 2011-03-13 11:46

    I wonder if a nuclear explosion in the Eurotunnel underneath the English channel will cause a tsunami destroying London, Amsterdam etc...

      Sean Looney - 2011-03-13 12:15

      are you serious? and how exactly is there going to be a nuclear explosion?

      Frank - 2011-03-13 12:34

      Please dont give evil people ideas like that. The world has enough on it's plate to deal with. Right Now!! I think they still trying to recover from last years earthquakes let alone the current ones. Never mind the flooding and volcanoes or even possible civil war in the arab states. The last thong we need are some clowns doing stupid things......

      rswedlake - 2011-03-14 12:56

      What a ridiculous comment!

  • klaus - 2011-03-13 15:09

    peoble all i will say is this look into the bible in revelation its all there what is still to come you haven t seen nothing yet god bless the born again a m e n

      c_fold - 2011-03-13 15:21


      JUDGE X - 2011-03-13 21:56


      moulana - 2011-03-14 11:34

      this could be a calamity to some and a gift to others, remember that death is a gift to a believer. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un... verily from God we come and verily unto him is our return

      Michelle - 2011-03-14 13:19

      Get over yourself Klaus. People are suffering and all you can think about is your "born again" stupid arse!? How selfish is that?

  • NO-BULL - 2011-03-14 08:45

    I would like to go over to Japan and help however I can. Does anyone know of any relief or aid organization that is sending volunteers over from South Africa?

      Kristi10 - 2011-03-14 15:28

      Gift of the givers A SA Muslim aid organisation that normally helps in times likes this but I think they are already in Libya. Google them it might help. They send aid where they can regardless of religion but I do not think they are big enough to help with two crises at once... SA goverment has already sent medical rescue teams as well.

      NO-BULL - 2011-03-15 09:29

      Thanks Kristi10 I have just sent them an email.

  • Thabisa - 2011-03-14 13:33

    Neal doesn't know the full truth I am in Sendai and Sendai is not destroyed my apartment and I haven't seen a single building that has collapsed in my area I live in Izumi in Sendai.

      Thabisa - 2011-03-14 13:34

      I mean my apartment is still standing and I have been sleeping in it for the past 2 days.

      Kristi10 - 2011-03-14 15:30

      Nice to hear that you are safe. Good luck to you and your family and be glad you still have a roof over your head.

  • Bratt - 2011-03-14 13:53

    I thought they had monitors that would give early warning for such. Guess I was wrong.

      KanaMay - 2011-03-14 16:17

      The monitors for the Tsunami are there but could have been damaged by the tremendous earthquake. Anyway, I doubt if the devices could have predicted the height of the Tsunami. I saw the longer video of the Tsunami flooding, and what I thought previously as the Tsunami flowing up a river & barely under the bridge turned out to be an overpass over the flooded main road. Some coastal areas have concrete walls to retain the high waves (from the typhoon etc.) but they are only 5m, not up to 10m which might have lessened the damage.

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