Worries for loved ones as after-shocks go on

Allan Leach and girlfriend Yoko Cato
Allan Leach and girlfriend Yoko Cato

TWO Halifax people with loved ones in disaster-hit Japan have spoken of their desperate worry.

A week since the massive earthquake, the country is suffering aftershocks, food and power shortages and radiation fears.

Allan Leach, from Halifax, was speaking to his girlfriend Yoko Cato via Skype when he saw her room start shaking, her dive under a table and then the screen go blank.

He had witnessed one of the aftershocks that are hitting some areas every 30 minutes. He saw he had an email from Yoko letting him know she and her family were safe but she told him there was a shortage of food and other basics.

“They’re really scared,” he said. “Supplies are running out.”

Allan, 34, is meant to be flying out there in a few weeks. When he heard about the quake, he tried to get there sooner but has been told he can not change his flight.

Yoko is currently staying with her family in Yokohama – a town around 20 minutes from Tokyo.

The couple, who met last year while Yoko was studying in Leeds, have recently bought an apartment there, which they are due to move into in July.

“I just want to be with her,” he said.

Meanwhile Avril Smith, from Holywell Green, is also desperately concerned as her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren are in Japan.

Her daughter, Paula Sugawara, was in England on business and staying with her parents when the earthquake hit last week.

“I came into the room and Paula was knelt in front of the TV not crying, butwailing,” she said.

“She was saying ‘The kids, the kids’. I’ll never ever forget it.” They were able to speak to Paula’s family and found they were safe and Paula managed to get a flight to Japan to rejoin her family.

She and her family – husband Shigeo, 12-year-old son Hugo and nine-year-old daughter Romy – live in Tokyo.

In an email to her friends and family she wrote: “The main thing is we are all safe.

“Hugo and Romy have been a bit freaked out and are not sleeping due to the aftershocks but are quite happy they don’t have to go to school!

“I would also rather have them since the thought of them being stuck on a train in an earthquake is too worrying to say the least.”