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175,000-tonne ship dumped by tsunami
Published on 21 Mar. 2011 12:44 AM IST
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This is the 175,000-tonne ship that was lifted up by Friday’s tsunami and dumped on top of a pier in Japan.
The cargo ship lies on the dock promenade Kamaishi, more than a week after the huge surge of water tossed it about like so much driftwood.
The stern of the Asia Symphony juts out several metres onto a road, as some survivors drive past on their way to see what remains of their belongings.
It is one of thousands of apocalyptic scenes that now provide the backdrop to life for victims who managed to escape the wall of water.
But a sense of routine is beginning to developing among the 420, 000 homeless victims taking refuge in emergency shelters across the shelters - with exercise group exercise classes being held.
Temporary hosing is also being built as the reality sets in that it will probably take years to rebuild the devastated region fully.
Temporary housing is also being built, as the reality hits home that it could take years to fully rebuild the devastated towns.
Nearly 290,000 households in the north still have no electricity and about 940,000 lack running water.
Aid groups say most victims are getting help, but there are pockets of acute suffering.
‘We’ve seen children suffering with the cold, and lacking really basic items like food and clean water,’ Stephen McDonald of Save the Children said in a statement. One victim was Tayo Kitamura, who had just been told rescue workers had pulled the body of her 69-year-old mother from the rubble of the town of Onagawa.
She knelt beside her mother’s body and pressed her palm against the blue plastic tarp rescue workers had just wrapped the corpse in. She leaned in as if to hug the body, then closed her eyes tightly as tears slid down her cheeks.
The March 11 tsunami was so powerful it sucked away entire towns. With almost no survivors amid the wreckage, rescue teams are searching almost exclusively for the dead. Residents say half of Onagawa’s 10,000 people are gone.
Mizue Yamamura, 76, was also searching for her husband in Onagawa on Saturday. She poked a thin stick against a soiled white cloth that looked like it could be a bloated corpse.
‘I think a lot of bodies are in there,’ she said, looking up toward a mountainous heap of broken wooden planks that once formed rows of houses. The rescuers ‘have not even begun to search under here.’
When the earthquake shook her third-floor apartment, Yamamura hurried outside with her husband, Yoshio, and began climbing a tree-lined hillside.
Yoshio was wearing only sandals, though, and turned back to get a pair of shoes.
She never saw him again.
‘One moment changed everything’ she said, still wearing the clothes she had on when they fled together. ‘Between life and death. A matter of seconds.’

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