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No one can watch the videos, see the pictures or read the stories coming out of Japan and not be moved by the plight of those directly impacted by the tremendous earthquake, horrifying tsunami and now the resulting crisis at nuclear power plants.

The sheer scale of the devastation is so huge, it is difficult to comprehend. Here in Salmon Arm, those of us who experienced the 1998 Wildfire and associated evacuations, have some inkling of what it is to have a natural disaster touch our lives — and here there were only a few thousand people evacuated, a few homes and buildings destroyed and no lives lost.

In the case of Japan, there are thousands feared dead, hundreds of thousands injured, whole towns destroyed, millions displaced. The quake was so violent that it literally changed the world. The main island of Japan moved eight feet. The Earth shifted 4 inches on its axis.

Such widespread and pervasive devastation can prove paralyzing, especially to those of us so far away.

But there are means of reaching out to help. Japanese students currently studying at Okanagan College in Salmon Arm are suggesting Salmon Arm residents can show their compassion by contributing financially to relief efforts in their country. The Red Cross is a well-known relief agency, but there are many others which will be offering aid to Japan in various forms.

It may be a small gesture, but it is one way to help make a difference as that battered country looks to find its footing amid tragedy.

– Salmon Arm Observer

Salmon Arm Observer

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