06:39 AM EDT 10/16/2013
Originally posted 12/23/2011 10:50AM
In a true holiday miracle, a young girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago was found alive and reunited with her family in Indonesia this week.
Wati, 15, walked into a café in the city of Meulaboh trying to find her parents Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
After going missing in the 2004 natural disaster, the girl, whose birth name is Meri Yuranda, was "adopted" by a woman who called her Wati and forced her to work on the streets as a beggar, the AP reports. When she stopped earning money, the woman finally let Wati go this week, and a taxi driver helped her return to her village Wednesday armed with little information about her birth family.
"When I saw my mother, I knew it was her. I just knew it," Wati said.
Originally posted 03/16/2011 08:30AM
In unprecedented televised address Wednesday, Japan's Emperor Akihito said he was "deeply worried" by the problems at nuclear facilities following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami, and urged his people to keep hope and be compassionate to one another during the crisis.
"I am deeply hurt by the grievous situation in the affected areas. The number of deceased and missing increases by the day. We cannot know how many victims there will be. My hope is that as many people possible are found safe," Akihito, 77, said.
He added: "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times." He also urged survivors not to "abandon hope."
Originally posted 03/13/2011 09:15PM
A massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan Friday morning, killing thousands of people and devastating a nation, but relief organizations are stepping up to provide immediate assistance to victims.
Here are some ways you can get involved and help people:
The Portland, Ore.-based Mercy Corps is accepting donations to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami through their longstanding partner, Peace Winds Japan. Donations will go to meeting the immediate and longer-term needs of the survivors. You can text MERCY to 25283 to donate $10.
Convoy of Hope's Disaster Response team is in contact with partners in Japan and identifying areas in the greatest need of assistance. You can donate online at convoyofhope.org or text TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10 toward the relief efforts.
Originally posted 03/12/2011 03:00PM
Petra Nemcova knows all too well what it's like to live through a natural disaster.
On Friday, after a devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated Japan, Nemvoca, who survived the 2004 disaster in Thailand, says it's difficult for her to watch the news coverage.
"It's very hard to look ... at those videos," the model and Dancing with the Stars contestant tells Access Hollywood. "Seeing people trying to escape from their cars and knowing this can be prevented. I think it's such a crime not to have disaster preparedness in curriculums."
Originally posted 03/11/2011 02:20PM
The eyes of the world focused on Japan on Friday, after a horrific 8.9-magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was close to Tokyo, struck off the country's coast. Experts are labeling the geological disaster the strongest ever in recorded history to rock Japan and one of the largest quakes on earth in the past 100 years. The official death toll, so far, is more than 1,000 people, Japanese media outlets are reporting.
As a result of the earthquake, a tsunami overtook cities and farmland in northern Japan and signaled coastal alerts in Hawaii and up and down the Pacific coasts of North and South America. Waves as high as eight feet began crashing into the northern California coast in Crescent City shortly after 7:30 a.m. Friday, creating surges that pried some boats loose from docks as coastal residents throughout the state rushed to higher ground.
Those living in Santa Cruz Country were advised to evacuate, reports the Los Angeles Times. Newport Beach, on Southern California's gold coast, has closed its waterfront school and cleared the beach and boardwalk, the paper also reports.
Originally posted 03/11/2011 10:40AM
In the wake of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan Friday afternoon – which triggered a 10-meter tsunami and a lingering threat as far west as the California coast – celebs have taken to Twitter to reach out after what may be the biggest such disaster on record to strike the country
Glee star Lea Michele Tweeted, "So devastating to hear about the huge earthquake & tsunami [in] Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone there."
Her costar Amber Riley also spoke up: "Omg my heart goes out to Japan," she Tweeted. "I pray this devastation stops."
Lindsay Lohan, just a week away from the next step in her theft case, Tweeted a picture of her TV screen, set to CNN.
"My mommy just woke my sister and i [sic] up to this!" she said. "god [sic] bless those that are in fear."
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