Family flees to Herrin in wake of Japanese Earthquake

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - A family that was living in Japan is now taking refuge in Herrin.

Kana Wharton and her kids, Cameron and Leah, live in a third-floor apartment in a city located north of Tokyo, closer to the epicenter of the massive 9.0 earthquake.

Now, they're staying with the kids' grandmother and Kana's mother-in-law in Herrin.

Kana's husband, Travis Wharton is currently deployed with the navy in Bahrain. While he was away, she and the kids moved to Japan to be closer to her family during his deployment.

But when the earthquake struck, Kana and the kids had to cope with a disaster without their father there to help.

The tsunami didn't affect the Wharton's, but family members say the numerous aftershocks and nuclear disaster made everyday life pretty frightening. That's why Kana and the kids fled Japan for the safety of the U.S.

"After that, everything just got worse," said Travis' mother, Jocelyne Wharton. "All the radiation, the aftershocks, the infrastructure was destroyed, you can't get anywhere because there's no gas for the cars, it just got worse and we wanted them out of there."

Kana and the kids flew into St. Louis Sunday night and Grandma Jocelyne says they've been catching up on sleep ever since.

Jocelyne also says having Kana and the kids safely out of Japan comes as a relief to Travis who's been concerned about his family as he serves our country.

"My son is so relieved they're here," Jocelyne said. "He's able to finally relax and not be so concerned. It was hard for him to be over there with the civil war in Bahrain and doing his job, it's a relief for him."

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.