Black tide to live for­ever with sur­vivors

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

JA­PANESE tsunami sur­vivors who were able to out­run the killer waves that raged out of the sea have re­called how they saw those be­hind them con­sumed by the tor­rent of mud and de­bris.

Miki Otomo’s sis­ter was one of the for­tu­nate, but the im­age of vic­tims vi­o­lently swept away last week by the black­tide of wrecked houses and cars near the hard-hit city of Sendai will be for­ever seared in her mem­ory.

‘‘ My older sis­ter was in a bus when the wave came be­hind them. The bus driver told ev­ery­body to get out of the bus and run,’’ said Otomo, a mother of three teenagers who man­aged to es­cape the deadly wall of wa­ter in her car.

‘‘ My sis­ter was able to get away, but some peo­ple just couldn’t run fast enough,’’ she said, adding that they were en­gulfed by the swirling tsunami, which was sparked on Fri­day by a mas­sive earth­quake, the big­gest recorded in Ja­pan.

Otomo, whose home near Sendai was de­stroyed, says she quickly piled her fa­ther and her dog in the car in a des­per­ate bid to sur­vive.

She is thank­ful her fam­ily was able to es­cape.

Otomo is now liv­ing at an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre in an area school with about 1000 other ex­hausted sur­vivors who cheated death.

In the gym at Rokugo high school, more than 100 peo­ple hud­dled in blan­kets on the floor as emer­gency food sup­plies were brought in.

Out­side in the car park, a wa­ter pump pro­vides a much-needed source of re­fresh­ment, busi­ness own­ers ar­rive with crates of sup­plies, and a neat row of por­ta­ble toi­lets has been set up for the evac­uees.

Photo: AFP

AMAZ­ING SCENES: a plea­sure boat sits on top of a build­ing amid a sea of de­bris in Ot­suchi

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