Friday, March 18, 2011

A Japan Earthquake Interview With Soledad O'Brien

Photo: Junghun Park-CNN
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien is in Japan, where she is covering the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear events that have devastated that country.

Kam Williams did an interview with Soledad via cell phone to share her eyewitness perspective.

Here are a few excerpts -

Soledad has covered Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami/earthquake in Indonesia in 2004, and the Haiti earthquake, so making comparisons is logical.

"I’m sure there are plenty of people already relocated. But the scope of the damage varies. For instance, some towns are just gone. In that case, the inhabitants who survived have to move because the village doesn’t exist anymore. However, there are some cities where there are evacuation centers, so people won’t have to leave. They’ll be able to rebuild or have other options. But I do know that they’ve started shipping in family tents and structures for use as shelters in areas that were really hard-hit.

I think the emotions are always the same. It’s a real sense of sadness and palpable loss. The scope of it is always overwhelming to me. And I’m always awed by the power of a natural disaster, say, to deposit a large boat on top of a building. I’ve covered numerous tsunamis, yet I’m always stunned by something like that, no matter how many times I’ve seen it before.

For me, my motivation is to tell the people’s story well, and to be part of a team that’s parachuting in to do just that. With the first few disasters I covered, I found myself asking, “Where is God?” “How does God allow small children to be swept out of their parents arms in the middle of a tsunami?” And thanks to shooting the special “Almighty Debt,” I had a chance to spend a lot a time with some pastors who really helped me a lot with sorting that out. Now, I see it less as a question of faith, and more as just my job."
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