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A Japanese student in US saw on YouTube her family is alive

Wednesday March 16, 2011 05:37:26 PM, IANS

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Washington: A student from Japan in the US was distraught after disaster struck her country. But she burst out with joy when she saw a YouTube video that showed her family home as the only one standing amid rubble.

The video also highlighted her older sister holding a sign saying in Japanese - "we are all safe".

Akiko Kosaka, enrolled at the University of California at Riverside, lost all hope for her family in Minami Sanriku, a fishing village where more than half of the 17,000 residents are missing following the massive tsunami that was triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake Friday.

Kosaka trawled internet for three days and she received a mail that her youngest sister was probably safe in her school's shelter, CNN reported Wednesday.

She feared the worst when an official at her village said that he barely survived the tsunami.

"I didn't think they (her family) survived," Kosaka, 20, told CNN.

"I cried for three days -- Friday, Saturday, Sunday."

On Sunday night, she learnt from a friend in Japan of a 45-second YouTube video that showed her family home as the only one standing in the village.

The video showed her older sister holding a sign to a TV news crew saying in Japanese "we are all safe".

Though she was happy to know about the video, she failed to find it online despite desperately looking for it through the night.

A contact from a Japanese social networking site sent her the link Monday morning.

She was overjoyed on seeing the short video on YouTube.

"I screamed, and my host parents woke up and they thought it was really bad," Kosaka was quoted as saying.

"They asked what happened. And I said, 'They survived!'"

The video shows her sister standing on the family home's balcony and asking the TV crew to pass along word to her sister in the US that she's safe.

Kosaka said: "When I saw this video, I was very shocked by it. I thought (the hillside community) was safe. There were houses next to my house, but they were destroyed. That means the tsunami came up to the house."





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