Locals struggle to overcome difficulties after quake in Japan

18:33, March 12, 2011      

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Many buildings in the coastal area of Arahama in Sendai city were swept away by tsunami, and the locals are struggling to resume normal life, as the Xinhua reporters see.

Non-concrete buildings here were swirled away like toys by huge waves following the 8.8-magnitude quake that took place Friday. Up to now, about 300 people were killed, and more than 800 houses were toppled and swept away in Sendai.

"I have lived here the whole of my life, but I have never seen such a strong tsunami as this, it's really terrible and shocking, " Masami Sato, a 58-year-old native, told Xinhua.

As he was talking to the Xinhua reporters, the government staff and local students were busy helping with the distribution of food and water, but they said they may face an acute shortage of materials later.

In Sendai, one of the worst-hit areas in the quake and tsunami, authorities have evacuated 60,000-70,000 people to around 200 shelters. Nearly 1,000 victims are seeking refuge in nearby primary and high schools, where they await to be evacuated.

As Xinhua reporters found in their trip to Sendai in Miyagi prefecture, architectures downtown are not severely hit. And the buildings at the water-submerged airport are just impaired slightly.

Meanwhile, most citizens are calm, except that most of the gas stations and supermarkets are out of service. Only a few stores are in business, but the shelves were already emptied by people rushing in to buy things to satisfy their basic needs.

The Japanese government has opened an exclusive route for rescue vehicles to enter the region. On the expressway that parallels the highway, military vehicles dispatched by Japan's Self-Defense Forces, as well as fire engines and ambulances are roaring past.

Several helicopters are hovering in the air to get hold of the latest developments. Plumes of black thick smoke are visible in the north-eastern part of the city, possibly coming from adjacent blazing buildings.

The death toll has reached 564 so far, a police tally showed, with the number likely to rise to well over 1,000.

Source: Xinhua

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