MOUNT VERNON — Matt Hagans of Danville is in a part of the world most people wouldn’t want to be right now — Okinawa, Japan,
Hagans is part of the U.S. military’s humanitarian aid/disaster relief effort and is helping to get the situation under control.
Hagans said he is 1 1/2 to 2 hours from where the earthquake occurred on Friday.
“Right now the locals are trying to contact relatives up here,” Hagans said. “We are trying to do whatever we can to help out.”
The military is helping get the locals evacuated from the area of the earthquake and the nuclear reactor.
“We have a unit headed out there getting on the boats to get trucks and loaders there to clean out the aftermath,” he said. “What we have done is evacuate everybody within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the reactor and section it off.”
He said what they are doing is trying to keep everybody, the military and the local population, away from any danger at the reactor site. The military is still trying valiantly to keep the reactors cool, he said.
“We are pouring lots and lots of sea water on them to try to keep them cooled down.” Hagans explained. “Right now it’s pretty scary with the nuclear reactors going off. We’re trying to cool down a 5,000 degree reactor with whatever we can get.”
Hagans said there was plenty of warning for the earthquake.
“We felt the earthquake over here,” he said. “There were some pre-quakes two or three weeks ago. And there have been about 102 aftershocks — a lot of them in the 6.2 range. Prior to Friday’s earthquake, we were getting quakes in the range of 6.1 and 6.2. Then the big one hit. It surprised a lot of us but we are trying to do what we can.”