While in New York City, the morning ritual included heading downstairs for the continental breakfast. It was in that room, where the news seemed to always be on TV.
It was about 8:30 a.m., Thursday, March 10. I walked in and selected a couple hardboiled eggs. It was then I looked up at the television.
My heart sank.
Earthquake? Over-heating nuclear facilities? Tsunamis? My mind was racing and so was my pulse.
All I could think about was my Aunt. I misdialed her number twice before the ever-long “beep” tone of overseas calls rang through.
Beep… beep… beep… I heard my Aunt’s voice. I was overwhelmed with emotions. “Aunt Mary, are you ok?”
After a long pause, she said, “Hi, honey. Yes. I am fine.” I was somewhat relieved. I shared with her the impending doom that was being broadcasted on the news. She said her and some of her team had fled inland.
According to my Aunt, the initial quake started in the ocean and was felt in several areas of China. That was the precursor to the earthquake which caused major destruction in Japan and surrounding coastal areas. Seeing the devastation that the news shared each morning was tortuous.
“On the Richter (Magnitude) Scale, a 6 is severe. The earthquake that hit Japan was about a 9 and they had multiple aftershocks that were rated 6 or better,” said my Aunt. “The tsunamis wiped out multiple cities and there are over 10,000 people that are not accounted for.”
“Our fear was for everyone’s safety in China and Japan,” said Aunt Mary. Her company utilizes suppliers in both countries. One supplier is less than 2 miles away from Fukushima Daiichi, and was evacuated the day of the earthquake. “A lot of employees either fled to get to their families or fled further inland because of the fear of the tsunamis.”
“It’s not about the job, it’s about the families. My big concerns have been, ‘Are you ok, are you functioning, is everyone alive?’ When you look at a world event like this, it’s about family, it’s about maintaining it’s about surviving,” said Aunt Mary.
As of Wednesday, March 16, my aunt landed in Detroit Metropolitan Airport with great relief to myself and my family.
My aunt is Mary Blair. She is the Vice President of Global Procurement of (UCI) United Components International.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of China, Japan and all who have been affected by the earthquake and subsequent disasters that have followed.
Rachel Olivia Kobylas