UCR Students From Sendai Hear From Families

One student was watching TV and saw her sister holding a sign

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 2:28 PM PDT
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All 110 Japanese nationals attending UC Riverside have  confirmed their immediate families survived the earthquake that  struck off Japan's northeast coast.

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According to campus officials, five of the students are from Sendai -- among the cities hardest hit by Friday's massive quake. Sendai has also been a  sister city to Riverside since 1957.

UCR's media coordinator, Kris Lovekin, said the university's 11 students  studying in Japan under the UC Education Abroad Program have all been located  and are doing fine.

One student enrolled in the UCR Extension program in Riverside was able  to identify her family while watching a newscast Sunday night.

"She was watching television and she actually saw her sister holding a  sign," said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, director of the UCR international program.  "I just can't believe it that she found them that way. What are the chances?"

The family was in Minamisanriku, which was devastated by 30-foot-high  tsunami waves immediately after the quake.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to all the affected by the horrific  quake off the coast of Japan," said UCR Chancellor Timothy White. "We pray  for our colleagues throughout Japan, and of course, we reach out to our  students, faculty and staff in Riverside who are from, or have family and  friends there."

There are 12 Japanese citizens engaged in graduate studies at UCR; 23  undergraduate students; and 100 enrollees in the extension program, campus  officials said.

Counseling services have been made available to the students, according  to Lovekin.

Google has launched a Person Finder site for people concerned about  loved ones or friends.

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