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SMU Student & Dean Impacted By Japanese Quake

By Emily Trube, 1080 KRLD
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(Photo by Koichi Saito/Getty Images)

(Photo by Koichi Saito/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – It’s a long way from Dallas to Tokyo, but Yuri Kimura feels a lot closer to home after Friday’s deadly quake.

CBS 11 was in her office Friday night on the SMU campus when the graduate student spoke to her mother on Skype and received word that her parents and brother were doing well.  But an earlier conversation that Kimura had with her mother just before midnight didn’t go so smoothly. The call was abruptly cut short.

“I didn’t understand what happened, said Kimura. She (mom) called me back again in one minute.  She said, I’m safe, I’m safe and then she started crying out loud.”

Kimura says her mind was racing and her heart was filled with panic.  When her mom finally calmed down, it became clear that a disaster had struck.

“She (mom) said everything fell off the shelf, said Kimura.  I didn’t quite understand, but she said an earthquake just happened. The biggest earthquake in her life.”

The 28-year-old, who grew up in Tokyo, has spent most of this day watching news footage of the land she calls home.  Many of her youthful memories have crumbled to the ground or have been washed away.

“I was really terrified because those places are where I always hang out with friends”

Kimura says there’s minimal damage to her house in Japan.  Nevertheless, once she completes this semester at SMU, she plans to return home and spend time with her family.

Meanwhile, a delegation from SMU’s Dedmen College is in Tokyo and had an unexpected experience, one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever hit the island nation of Japan.

The school’s Dean William Tsutsui spoke with KRLD’s Emily Trube and says that cell phone service is bad, trains are not running and they are still getting after-shocks…but that the peoples response has been very good.

After being cut off , we were able to re-establish contact with Dean Tsutsui.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

The American Red Cross is making it easy to donate to the earthquake relief in Japan. They started taking $10 donations through cell phone calls during the earthquake relief for Haiti. Now, the Red Cross has switched the lines to take in donations for Japan. All you have to do is text “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. It will show up on your next cell phone bill.

Click here for the latest on the quake and tsunami.

(Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media.  The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)

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