Not to diminish the value of all the other deaths, ... one of the first places that popped into my mind at 2am watching the tsunami unfold live on the internet was "What of Taiji".
Well I'm not able to find out about the tsunami's effect in Taiji, but Sea Shepherd's Taiji crew went missing... :(
[...] Our Cove Guardian crew is still missing. Cove Guardian leader Scott West was with Mike Vos, Tarah Millen, Carisa Webster, and Marley Daviduk, and accompanied by Brian Barnes of Save Japan Dolphins. They reported seeing the water recede, and Scott Mike, and Tarah were reportedly in a van at the time. The others were reported to have been on higher ground. These individuals were last heard from just minutes after the tsunami warning horns began to blow, and have not been heard from since. They were very close to where the full force of the tsunami hit Japan, and we hope they are okay and that the problem is simply that much of the communication infrastructure has been knocked out. All the Cove Guardians in Iwate Prefecture were either American or Canadian and the embassies in Tokyo have already been informed. The Japanese whaling fleet is still about a week out from arriving back in Japan and thus was not impacted by the earthquake and the tsunami.
We anxiously await word from the Cove Guardians, and all of us with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society wish to express our support and sympathies to the people of Japan who have suffered this horrific natural disaster. We are also very concerned about the threat posed by some of the nuclear reactors that have been destabilized by the quake and the tsunami. We also wish to express our support and concern for the people living in the path of these deadly waves – especially to those people in Northern California, Hawaii, and the pacific coast of South America.[...]
After more than twenty-four hours since we last heard from them, Sea Shepherd Director of Investigations Scott West was able to call his wife Suzanne to report that he and the entire Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian crew are alive and unharmed.
They had to abandon their two cars in the devastated port city of Otsuchi where they spent the night on a hill. The entire town around them was destroyed. They walked out over scattered debris, roads that were completely wiped out, and walked past numerous dead bodies amidst piles of rubble. At one point yesterday they saw and heard a woman in the water screaming for help, but she was washed out to sea before they could do anything to rescue her.
The Cove Guardians went to Otsuchi to document the slaughter of Dall’s Porpoise. Every year the fishermen slaughter over 20,000 of these gentle creatures. They had just filmed a fishing boat returning from a porpoise hunt when they saw the water in the harbor receding and they immediately headed for high ground. The time from the Earthquake to the Tsunami striking Otsuchi was about eight minutes.
The Cove Guardians were right in the midst of the most devastating Tsunami to ever hit Japan, and we are thank they have all survived and are well.
Scott West was only able to send out this quick message, as his mobile phone was fading:
We are all 6 safe and out of Otsuchi. Now in Tono at hotel with no power, Internet, water, or food. Have IPhone until battery dead. -- Scott