A destroyed city

Alex Thomson of the Mail visits the city of Minami Sanriku, which two days ago had a population of 17,000:

The most astonishing view stretches out below towards the sea for at least four miles. An entire town of around 17,000 people has simply ceased to exist here.

At least 95 per cent of the buildings are not merely ruined; they have been reduced to a morass of splintered wood, jagged concrete and twisted metal….

Across the way in the college reception, we meet English teacher Shinji Saki. “I saw it all,” he says. “The whole thing. First there was the quake, the shaking. Then, the sirens warning there would be a tsunami.

“I was already here, teaching, up on the hill. But in a few minutes you heard this huge roar and then it all began. We watched as our entire town was simply swept away. It no longer exists.”

I look at him, wondering how it must have felt for those gathered on the hill on Friday watching their friends, family, businesses, being washed away before their eyes.

“There were around 7,000 of us on the hill that day,” Shinji says. “Perhaps a few thousand at the school on the hill opposite. But there are 17,000 in the town. All the others have gone.” He shrugs: “Who knows if there are eight or ten thousand people still missing here. I just can’t comprehend it.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 14, 2011 01:31 AM | Send

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