Black tide to live forever with survivors
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.
AMAZING SCENES: a pleasure boat sits on top of a building amid a sea of debris in Otsuchi