LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Japanese nationals attending UC Riverside have confirmed their immediate families survived the catastrophic earthquake that struck off Japan’s northeast coast.

According to campus officials, all have verified that their families survived the massive earthquake that was recently upgraded from 8.9 to 9.0.  Five of the students are from Sendai — among the cities hardest hit by Friday’s massive quake. Sendai has also been a  sister city to Riverside since 1957.

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According to campus officials, there are 12 Japanese citizens engaged in graduate studies at UCR; 23
undergraduate students; and 100 enrollees in the extension program.  The university also has 11 students who are studying in Japan under the UC Education Abroad Program who have all been located and are doing fine.

One student enrolled in the UCR Extension program in Riverside was able  to identify her family while watching a newscast Sunday night.

“She was watching television and she actually saw her sister holding a  sign,” said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, director of the UCR international program.  “I just can’t believe it that she found them that way. What are the chances?”

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The family was in Minamisanriku, which was devastated by 30-foot-high  tsunami waves immediately after the quake.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to all the affected by the horrific  quake off the coast of Japan,” said UCR Chancellor Timothy White. “We pray  for our colleagues throughout Japan, and of course, we reach out to our  students, faculty and staff in Riverside who are from, or have family and  friends there.”

Counseling services have been made available to the students.

Google has launched a Person Finder site for people concerned about  loved ones or friends.

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