Heavy snow is now blanketing northern Japan, making life even more difficult for those who survived last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
Emergency teams from around the world have come to do what they can in what is now more a case of recovery than rescue.
Official figures put the numbers of dead and missing at around 15,000. But this is likely to be a huge underestimation. Despite the death toll and freezing temperatures, the rescuers are refusing to give up:
“There’s always a small percentage of hope, isn’t there?” was the attitude voiced by one emergency worker from the UK. “We will look on the bright side until they call everything off but who knows?”
Sports halls, gyms and community centres have been turned into temporary morgues. Dozens of bodies lie in each, waiting to be identified by distraught friends and relatives.