Encounter at San Diego and An Unexpected Reunion



I posted the other day on a meeting in San Diego in early April.

In one of the panels at the meeting, I talked about Project Hope, a Disaster Relief Project for the East Japan Disaster.  One of the participants came to me after the panel to ask about the details, and we had some discussion over what we have been doing with Project Hope.   The person was Dr Raymond Basri from New York.  He had a strong interest in disaster relief, and had participated in many disaster relief activities in the past including Afghan Wars and Hurricane Katrina.  Dr. Basri is also known for taking leadership at the ditching of an airbus at the Hudson River, New York City.

Dr. Basri and I have been exchanging e-mails several times, and then, I suddenly received an e-mail from him saying that “I plan to come to Japan 4 days from now, and hope to bring my daughter (an undergraduate) and son (a high school student) with me to visit the stricken area.  My daughter accompanied me at the Katrina time, but my son has no experience yet of being at the disaster area…”

I have been involved for these 3 weeks in the collaboration with Project Hope, ie, 3 doctors in the team 2, for 3 times to the stricken area.  We had meetings before and after each visit for briefing and de-briefing of their reports and following discussions.

With this background, I was fortunate enough to have help from many related people, and managed to have Dr Basri and his children arrive today at Narita, in the afternoon of Saturday, 4 days after receiving his e-mail.  They then transited to Haneda (it was at this point that I finally succeeded in getting in touch with them by e-mail and cell phone - truly at the very last minute…) where I met the three (photo above) before getting on board the flight to Akita.  I had 30 minutes for briefing and handing the local maps.  They will be picked up by a car from Akita to Miyako-city.  All of the arrangements were completed just a day before their arrival, very risky, but we somehow managed.  The family was to arrive at Miyako-city at midnight.

On Sunday, the next day, Dr Basri and his family visited a number of places, and we asked the people at the site to distribute the supplies he brought.

After staying two nights at the area on Saturday and Sunday, they will be leaving for New York from Narita in the late afternoon of Monday.

I thank all who kindly helped me for the arrangement despite such a very short notice.