Japan Two Year Anniversary

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Mon, March 11 2013 at 6:23 PM, Updated: Thu, March 14 2013 at 6:49 PM

Tonight Japan remembers  the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that caused horrific destruction just two years ago -- a disaster so strong it was even felt 5000 miles away on Oregon's shores.


The Japanese Association of Southern Oregon is an entire group dedicated to helping thousands of Japanese survivors by sending thousands of dollars overseas. 
Today I met with two members who shared Japan's slow journey to rebuild. 

These are the images Medford resident and Japanese native - Yumi Nelson awoke to, two years ago today.

"My daughter was watching with me and she started crying, it was just very... ya emotional... heartbreaking," says Nelson.

On March 11, 2011 almost 1900 thousand people were lost or killed as a magnitude 9 earthquake shook off the coast of Japan causing a tsunami surge and subsequent nuclear reactor meltdown.

"I saw pictures of my home - everything was on the floor," continues Nelson, ..."all the dishes, my mother's dishes, were on the floor."

Even Oregon's coastal communities were damaged by high seas, followed by months
of debri washing ashore.

Today Japan is still scarred and over 300,000 remain without permanent homes.

"That's all of Jackson County, all of Josephine County, and a little more."

As a result Japanese Association of Southern Oregon President Noriko Hansen says they're holding japan week.

"We had many of the people come here to evacuate, but not everyone can do that, and it's heartbreaking to us," comments  Hanson.

"I think the Japanese people are taking it in stride and doing very good I'm very proud that I'm Japanese."

A recovery that's estimated to take 10 years... or more,

Red tape may be holding up efforts for the Japanese government, but with just 30 members JASO has sent over 40,000 dollars overseas.

JASO is holding event's all week, for details visit http://www.jaso.org/.

About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

NBC5 News at Sunrise co-anchor Jennifer Elliott spent most of her life in the Rogue Valley.

After graduating from Brigham Young University–Idaho, she was excited to come home again. Jennifer began her career at NBC5 in 2011 as a production assistant.

Her loves include drawing, playing the organ, fishing and of course, her husband and young son.

Catch Jennifer co-anchoring with Travis Koch weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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