Local families get in touch with loved ones in Japan

By Gene Petriello - bio | email | facebook

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - This morning, families in our area woke up to some devastating pictures on the TV, showing massive waves rolling ashore in Japan. We talked with a local family who found out their loved ones were safe. We were there when they were Skyping with those loved ones in Japan.

"My heart dropped. I knew it was far away from my home town, but someone I knew could be there," said Wakako Reno.

Wakako's two sisters and her dad live just north of Tokyo. That's south of the earthquake's epicenter. But still, she says it's a mess there. "They went to the grocery store and everybody was in there. It was packed everybody buying water."

Wakako quickly found out her family was okay and she was even able to see them early this morning, right in her living room.

Gene Petriello: "When you saw your two sisters for the first time on Skype, what were you thinking?"
Wakako Reno: "I was just so relived. I was so glad to see them."

We were able to ask her two sisters what it was like when the quake hit. Our camera caught them describing the swirling feeling.

"Side to side for about 4 minutes. Then, they felt it a little bit more," Reno said.

In fact-- when we were taping the interview-- her sister called us over because they were experiencing an after shock.

"I feel so lucky because I can see my friends on facebook this morning that are still trying to reach their friends and family members," says Wakako.

The harsh reality of Mother Nature that now has one of the biggest cities in the world, almost at a standstill.

But some comfort for this family here in Richmond that is now thinking about all those other families overseas.

"I don't know how many children lost parents today. Just think about that," Reno said.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.