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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Terrifying pictures reveal full horror of Japan's worst quake

By Daily Mail Reporter

Still smouldering: White smokes rise from burning house in Yamadamachi in Iwate, today after the earthquake caused pandemonium in the area

Fouroverturned train carriages lie at impossibly skewed angles. A cruise ship sits on its side. Another teeters perilously on the edge of a quay.

All had been flung from their courses by the devastating force of the tsunami, but pictured from above – in such unlikely settings – they appear almost as toys scattered by a child who has grown bored with playing.

Elsewhere, terrified survivors wait to be rescued atop a building in Kesennuma, in north-east Japan, after fashioning a giant SOS sign from bedsheets.

And residents in Rikuzentakata can be seen on the roof of a block of flats that appears to have been put through a shredder.

These were the apocalyptic scenes captured from the skies above north-eastern Japan yesterday.

Four entire trains carrying ­hundreds, possibly thousands of passengers, vanished after the earthquake. At least one was a high-speed Japanese ‘bullet’ train. Rail operators lost contact with them as they operated on coastal lines on Friday.

East Japan Railway Company admitted it did not know how many people were on board.

As well as the ships seen here, a cruise liner is said to have simply vanished with hundreds of holidaymakers on board.

Kesennuma – near the off-shore epicentre of the magnitude 8.9 quake – has been burning furiously, with broadcasters reporting that fires are spreading out of control.

Aerial footage of the city, home to 74,000, shows the whole area engulfed in flames.

Catastrophe: The true scale of the devastation that the tsunami unleashed is clear in this picture of the port city of Minamisanriku town where 10,000 people are unaccounted for

Witnesses said the fires were caused after the tsunami smashed into cars, causing them to leak oil and gas. They described a city of ‘fire and water’ – what is not ablaze is submerged.

Officials said the number of dead was likely to soar as thousands were still unaccounted for. An estimated 215,000 survivors have been placed in makeshift shelters.

A huge international rescue effort was also underway and a British team was preparing to fly out. The fate of residents of the shredded flats of Rikuzentakata, also on the north-east coast, was not clear last night.

Footage broadcast on Japanese TV showed that minutes before the ­tsunami struck, it appeared a ­typical Japanese town moving towards rush hour, with hundreds of cars on the roads.

Then, as the torrent of water sweeps in, the entire region merges into the sea, causing a flood that few would be able to survive.

Many homes were crushed beneath the intense pressure of the first barrage of water which left behind a tangled mess of wrecked wooden buildings. Cruelly, many others that initially stood firm were washed away when the ferocious waves continued to roll in from the Pacific.

Save our souls: Stranded people wait to be rescued from the roof of a building in Miyagi Prefecture

Saviour: A little child is held by rescue workers after being pulled from a collapsed building at Kesennuma, northeastern Japan today while right, an elderly woman is helped across the rubble as all around her homes have been reduced to rubble

Freak sight: Bathers at Acapulco, Mexico, see an unusually dense school of fish wash up as the tsunami after-effects reach the far side of the Pacific Ocean, and right, an elderly resident is given a piggy back by rescue workers through pools of muddy water

Tired: A young girl watches the news in a community centre after being evacuated from areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facilities following the earthquake

Desperate: Residents in Rikuzentakata seek refuge on a roof terrace while right, two Japanese news presenters take precautions by wearing hard hats as they announce that 9,500 are missing in the port of Minami Sanriku

Catastrophe: A soldier carries an elderly man on his back to a shelter in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture

Airlift: A woman is rescued from the devastation by a helicopter in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture

Loss: Eiji Kanno, left, and his wife Matsuko are comforted rescue workers after finding out their 18-year-old daughter Mizuki is dead in Yamamoto, south of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Carnage: Amidst tsunami flood waters burning houses and ships are piled in a mass of debris in Kisenuma city, Miyagi prefecture

Scattered: Train carraiges were thrown from the line in Fukushima and ships were tossed ashore by the tsunami in Aomori province

Damage control: Firefighting ships spray water over burning oil refinery tanks in Ichihara in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo

What's going on? A toddler is checked for signs of radiation by officials in protective gear after thousands of residents were evacuated from the area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama

Dangerous work: Nuclear officials cover themselves head to toe in protective gear as they deal with those people who have been evacuated and right, one of the women who was taken out of her home is scanned for radiation

Rest: Elderly residents of a nursing home that was evacuated amid fears of a nuclear fallout from the Fukushima Daini plant sleep on their duvets while one man in his mask appears bemused by everything

Aftermath: Evacuees walk through the rubble of collapsed houses in Sendai, Miyagi today while right a derailed train carriage and piles of debris litter the landscape that will be scarred by the devastation for years to come

Cataclysm: Local residents look at debris brought by the huge tsunami in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture

Endeavour: Rescue workers carry a body found in the debris in the town of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, left, while stranded survivors use whatever they can find to escape the ruins of the disaster in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture

Run aground: A container ship stranded, swept half ashore, in Sendai, north-eastern Japan

Inferno: Flames engulf buildings in an industrial complex in Sendai, north-eastern Japan

Blaze: Thick black smoke rises from burning buildings in a factory zone in Sendai, north-eastern Japan

Duty: Self-Defense Force officers rescue people from the flood waters by boat in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture

Disbelief: A man takes a photo of a car swept on to the roof of a building by the tsunami in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture

Comfort: Survivors hug each other in an evacuation center set up in a school gym in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture

Levelled: A man rides a bicycle through a debris-strewn street in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture

Precarious: A huge trailer stuck in an narrow canal leans over debris at a port in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Cut off: A bridge undergoing construction is damaged together with another bridge in Namegata City, Ibaraki Prefecture

Unusable: Vehicles are piled up beside homes in a residential area in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture

Chasm: A passing car keeps a safe distance from the giant rip in the road in Futaba, Fukushima prefecture

Devastation: A train sits derailed in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi prefecture

Carnage: A man cycles past a car overturned by the tsunami on a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture

Alive: Survivors head to an evacuation centre in Sendai, north-eastern Japan

Crippled: A Japanese military plane has its nose struck in a building at Matsushima air base, north-eastern Japan

Watery: Houses and scattered debris fill Tsunami flood waters covering destroyed Sendai airport near Sendai city, Miyagi



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