Rescuers find two alive in rubble
TWO survivors, including an elderly woman, have been rescued from the wreckage of a home in Japan’s northeast, nine days after a massive earthquake and tsunami, authorities say.
‘‘ An 80-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy were found under debris,’’ said a police spokesman in the devastated city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture.
‘‘ Their temperatures were quite low but they were conscious.’’
Sumi Abe and her grandson Jin Abe were in the kitchen when the quake struck on March 11, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The house collapsed with them inside but the grandson was able to reach food from the refrigerator, helping them to survive.
The boy was said to be shivering and had no feeling in one leg.
There have been few such miracle rescues, with almost 21,000 people confirmed as dead or listed as missing following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and giant tsunami which flattened Japan’s northeast coast on March 11.
Freezing temperatures and snow have hampered rescue operations.
Miyagi prefecture was worst hit by the quake and tsunami, with a confirmed death toll of 4882.
Meanwhile, Japan’s tsunamiravaged nuclear plant must eventually be scrapped, the country’s top government spokesman said as he revealed ‘‘ abnormal levels’’ of radiation had again been detected in milk and spinach taken from areas near the plant.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano’s comment yesterday was the first word from the government that the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex would have to be closed once its overheating reactors were brought under control.
Closing the plant is inevitable, as the seawater cooling the reactors is corrosive, rendering critical parts of the complex unusable.