Temple students record Japan quake's first moments

March 15, 2011 8:36:16 PM PDT
Almost 50 students from Temple University Law School are in Japan and were there as the 9.0 magnitude quake hit.

The video above shows the frightening moments as last week's initial earthquake ravaged Japan; it was captured by the cell phone camera of a Temple University Law student.

48 Temple students are currently studying abroad at the school's Tokyo campus.

"We had students who, the first night, were forced to campout at the law school facilities in Tokyo because they were just unable to get back to their homes," JoAnne Epps, Dean of Temple Law School, said.

Epps has been working the phones and email since the quake first struck.

She says job one was ensuring the safety of each and every student, a job made more difficult by the country's badly damaged communications infrastructure and the fact that many were traveling throughout Japan last week, with classes closed for Spring Break.

"Phones have been sporadic, so it's been really tough to stay in touch," Epps said.

After a nerve-racking first 48 hours, though, every student was located.

All of them found to be just fine, though coping with life after the quake, and questioning if and how they can come home.

"There have been intermittent food and milk and bread shortages, so they've been foraging for food," Epps said.

Elsewhere in Japan, Paul Doyon is debating a return to the U.S., too.

Doyon is a native of Chalfont, Bucks County and moved to Japan in 1988.

He now lives in Utsunomiya-Shi, a mere 80 or so miles from where a nuclear disaster looms.

"The city that I live in is pretty close to where the nuclear accident was," Doyon said.

He says he keeps an eye on the situation there through American news coverage.

"I don't think the people here in Japan are getting the same story that we're getting in the United States...it sounds like it might turn into a very serious problem and I don't think the Japanese people are being told that," Doyon said.

Doyon, along with his wife and son, are staying with in-laws now as they gauge the situation.

Temple, meanwhile, will also keep a close eye on things.

Right now, classes in Tokyo are cancelled until late next week at the earliest.

Students wishing to come home still have to worry about credits, but if the situation there gets any worse, the school tells Action News they'll consider all options to ensure their safety first, education second.

RELATED: Search the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) site to see if loved ones in the quake zone have checked in to say they are okay

RELATED: To help, visit www.redcross.org and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the recovery effort

RELATED: Watch videos of the earthquake and tsunami as they happened in Japan

Emergency Information

For emergency information, assistance, and locating family in connection with earthquake in Japan: http://www.facebook.com/l/6b2e3a9CLMNbUwBsOw1jOL8d5aw/www.jhelp.com

Phone numbers in US and Japan:

202 559 4683
800 373 1110
0570 000 911
011 81 90 7170 4769
011 81 90 3080 6711