Exchange students, Americans evacuate Japan

March 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. Government is chartering planes to get Americans out of harm's way and the State Department is advising all U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Japan. One Bay Area student who evacuated arrived home on Wednesday.

As this mass exodus out of Japan accelerates, people in other parts of the world are anxious to hear whether their family and friends are getting out. One Bay Area student who evacuated got home on Wednesday.

"It's surreal and I'm exhausted. I haven't slept in two days," said evacuated student Jon Del Secco.

Del Secco shouldn't be here, in his Mill Valley home, on his computer or even in his bedroom. He should be in Tokyo. He is one of 20 Southern Oregon University foreign exchange students studying abroad in Japan.

"I received an e-mail about 4:30 in the morning, Japan time, the day before yesterday as I packed one bag just in case, and it said basically to evacuate Japan and the spring term had been cancelled," said Del Secco.

Del Secco left his dorm in Toyko on Wednesday morning. He wasn't supposed to return home to the U.S., until September. American universities aren't the only ones taking precautions in light of the recent tsunami and radiation concerns. A number of companies are moving their employees out of the radiation zone near the nuclear plant.

Ikea, H&M Clothing, SAP, and Santa Clara's Applied Materials are moving their employees mostly to the southern part of the island nation. BMW has asked its German employees to leave the country. As a result, Japan's airports and international terminals are packed.

At San Francisco International Airport, most on board Japan Airlines Flight 2 from Tokyo are glad to be leaving a country many describe as a place in controlled chaos.

Load Comments