The New York Times has chronicled some of the situations and the human faces of these individuals and one of them involves a complete swim team:
From the New York Times:
RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan — On the afternoon of Friday, March 11, the Takata High School swim team walked a half-mile to practice at the city’s nearly new natatorium, overlooking the broad sand beach of Hirota Bay.
That was the last anyone saw of them. But that is not unusual: in this town of 23,000, more than one in 10 people is either dead or has not been seen since that afternoon, now 10 days ago, when a tsunami flattened three-quarters of the city in minutes. ..."
Toki from northern California sent me this this story and this is what he had to say:
[... My name is Toki Burke. I'm a former competitive swimmer from Northern California and now I teach English at elementary and junior high school in Okinawa, Japan. I'm also a frequent reader of your blog; enjoy it a lot. Anyway you've posted some stuff on the tsunami waves hitting California and I was hoping you could post a link to this article from the New York Times about a group of swimmers and their coach who are missing and are presumably dead after the tsunami wiped out their town. I can't imagine what they went through, but I can't stop thinking about the all meets I went to at pools like Belmont Plaza and having something like that happen.
Japan is a first world country and one of the biggest donors of foreign aid, but they really need help with the unimaginable consequences and devastation from an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. Yahoo has a great page up that offers some links to groups individuals can donate to. When you get a chance please take a moment to read the article. It'd mean a lot if you could re-post it on your site along with the page for ways people can donate to help Japan. [...]
The Belmont Plaza mentioned in the letter above is an indoor pool built right on ocean front property in Long Beach California; a complete soft target for a tsunami hence the emotion in Toki's last sentence.
A charity I donated $100 too is not listed in the links page but is run through the United Nations. It is called the World Food Program and their website is located here. Several Japanese friends of mine have endorsed it: [Link]