Kentuckiana man about family in Japan: 'They're safe right now, but it could get a lot worse.'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For folks in Kentuckiana with family and friends in Japan it's especially hard to see video and pictures of the sheer devastation in that country.

Words are hard to come by for Eliyah Tashiro, 22, of Louisville, when watching videos of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the tsunami it created.

The massive waves washed away nearly everything in parts of northern Japan Friday.

Tashiro's family is in Japan.

"My aunt was able to get ahold of my grandparents and we found out that everyone was okay. That was a big relief," Tashiro said.

Tashiro's family lives in Tokyo, a couple hundred miles south of the earthquake's epicenter.

"They're safe right now, but it could get a lot worse," Tashiro said "I'm very worried about that."

The earthquake and tsunami are causing problems at Japan's nuclear power plants.

Several explosions and fears of radiation leaks have people there and here in Kentuckiana, growing more anxious.

Tashiro says he talked to his uncle recently, who is in Japan.

"I emailed him [Sunday]. He told me with the nuclear reactors going off, several of them only 100 miles away from Tokyo, he was saying that could cause major damage and most of the damage, they do not know as of yet," Tashiro said.

People at the Crane House Asia Institute in Louisville are also concerned. They focus on Asian culture and are trying to drum up support for the Japanese.

Bryan Warren is the Executive Director of the Crane House

"Part of our job is to help raise awareness in the community that these are our friends and neighbors, their family and friends that are in japan," Warren said "As citizens and human beings, we have a responsibility to look out for them."

Tashiro says all he can do is pray his family stays safe.

"It's a helpless feeling. it's really tough." He said.

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