Japan tries to clean up from devastating quake/tsunami...A first-hand report
Star Travel corresdpondent C. James Dale is living in Tokyo and filed a report Friday on the horrific feeling from the big quake and tsunami that hit Japan. Here's a follow-up report....
THE HARSH LIGHT OF DAY IN JAPAN
TOKYO - It's now just after 10 a.m. here in Tokyo and life is slowly starting to get back to normal. Or whatever normal is when you're still reeling from the strongest earthquake to hit since record-taking started 140 years ago.
After spending the night sleeping in government buildings, schools, really anywhere they could find, hundreds of thousands of commuters are heading home. Most train and subway lines are back up and running. But there's a huge backlog, so the stations are packed with people. Things are also moving again at Tokyo's main airports - Haneda, which is close to the city centre, and Narita, which is 65km northeast of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture.
I don't know if it's because I've been up for more than 24 hours, but I
have a persistent feeling that the ground swaying. My mind and body are
likely playing tricks on me, but experts have said the aftershocks that
have been rippling through Japan could continue for a month or more.
This monster quake, which hit at 2:46 p.m. local time, was violent
and pretty scary. But Tokyo got off lightly compared northeastern Japan.
The video and photos show the how the tsunami waves are really to blame
for the majority of the devastation. Some areas have been flattened by
huge waves of mud and debris that swept inland.
Looking at the video now on NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, it's hard
to imagine how the country will recover. Rescuers are trying to save
people who are stranded. But they're also finding many bodies as they
pick through the debris.
About 50 countries and regions are offering help, including the U.S., China, South Korea, and the EU. Japan is figuring out how international assistance will fit into its rescue and recovery operation. But just the fact that the country is considering
bringing in foreign help is a significant step. In the aftermath of past natural disasters, it has refused.
The official death count was 574 as of Saturday morning, March 12 (Toronto time), but many fear it will rise dramatically. One report said four trains disappeared Friday and haven't been found. Media reports said at least 1,300 people may have been killed.