Japan After The Earthquake Survivors


Aerial footage showed buildings and trains strewn like children's toys after powerful walls of seawater swamped areas around the worst-hit city of Sendai, about 130 km (80 miles) from the earthquake's epicenter.
"Everything is so hard now," said Kumi Onodera, a 34-year-old dental technician in Sendai, a port of 1 million people known as the "City of Trees" and cradled by dormant volcanoes.
Onodera said her ordeal the night before was "like a scene from a disaster movie".
"The road was moving up and down like a wave. Things were on fire and it was snowing," she said. "You really come to appreciate what you have in your everyday life."
Adding to the panic, radiation leaked from an unstable nuclear reactor in Fukushima prefecture, near Sendai.
In districts around Fukushima city, survivors lined up for drinking water in town centers, filling teapots and plastic containers. Japan deployed tens of thousands of Self-Defense Force officers to search for missing people.
In Iwanuma, not far from Sendai, nurses and doctors were rescued after spelling S.O.S. on the rooftop of a partially submerged hospital, one of many desperate scenes. In cities and towns across the northeast, worried relatives checked information boards on survivors at evacuation centers.
Hundreds of fishing vessels, many upturned, stood stranded in fields, pummeled by the 10-meter (33-foot) tsunami.





Japan's Kyodo News said about 300,000 people were evacuated nationwide, including 90,000 from areas near the nuclear plant, many seeking refuge in shelters, wrapped in blankets, some clutching each other sobbing.





Helicopters plucked survivors from an elementary school in Sendai. About 100 km (62 miles) further south in Koriyama, families slept in sleeping bags in a stadium.
At least 1,700 people were feared killed by the earthquake, the world's fifth-most powerful in the past century. As many as 3,400 buildings were either destroyed or badly damaged, Kyodo reported. About 200 fires had broken out.





HOARDING, LONG WAITS FOR SUPPLIES
Off Japan's northeastern coast, an oil tanker lay eerily stranded in shallow water. Inland, in Sendai, a black mini-van perched perilously on a metal post.
In one town, Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture, as many as 9,500 were people could not be contacted, about half its population, Kyodo reported.

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