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Natural Disaster In Japan: U.S. Survivors Push To Evacuate

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Hellgren Mike 370x278 (2) Mike Hellgren
WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Out of control. That’s what experts are saying about Japan’s overheated nuclear complex. As each day passes, the risk increases that nuclear fuel rods will spray radiation.

Americans living and working in Japan are trying to get out.

Mike Hellgren is following the rush to evacuate.

In the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, many Americans fled Japan. United is operating limited flights–with some passengers now arriving at Dulles.

Scenes like these are playing out around the country–people back home greeted by loved ones.

“I’m one of the few, the lucky ones.  I get to have my family back,” said Mieko Iinuma, mother.

And those who lived through the disaster won’t soon forget it.

“Within a few seconds, I started to feel the ground move beneath me,” said Valerie Iinuma, home from Japan.

Miyu Saito, a foreign exchange student from Sendai, Japan, is watching the disaster unfold with her host family in Maryland.

The tsunami came within a half mile of her parents’ home.

“I still can’t imagine that my friends and family are still there,” Saito said.  “They can’t even get food.”

In Japan, airports are crowded. Many Americans are still waiting to get out.

Others–like Oliver Jones from Baltimore–made it back. WJZ first shared his story with you; his mother recounted the frantic hours she spent trying to locate him after the quake.

“We were trying every cell phone number we had for him.  We tried the Internet.  We tried texting.  We tried everything,” said Lola Jones, Oliver’s mother.

As many as 1,300 Americans were in northern Japan when the earthquake hit.

Taylor Anderson, 24, from Virginia is one of those missing, and reliable information is hard to come by.

“It’s hard to get food, water, gas, shelter.  They’re riding around in vans.  They’re sleeping in vans. I mean, they’re not equipped,” said Andy Anderson, Taylor’s dad.

These stories are reminders of the worldwide scope of the massive tragedy felt here in Maryland–almost 7,000 miles from Japan.

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