Almost a year since the tsunami in Japan, hundreds of people are still missing from the coastal town of Minamisanriku.
The day before the devastating wave, 17,000 people lived in Minamisanriku, the day after, only 7,000. Authorities predict the reconstruction of homes and other vital buildings will take years.
Dr Masahiro Shuto has been part of the relief effort in the town.
“There’s a lack of equipment, and there is no central hospital so we have to send patients an hour away by car. It’s a real problem, especially as we have an ageing population in Japan,” he said.
The search for missing people continues in the fishing hamlet of Rikuzentakata, about 400 kilometres northeast of Tokyo; 2,000 people disappeared after the tsunami destroyed the downtown area.
“We’re doing our best to find the bodies and, as far as possible, return them to their loved ones and families, but unfortunately the bodies are getting harder to find now,” said police officer Daichi Kousakau Yoshida.
Last year’s tsunami was caused by a magnitude nine earthquake, the largest recorded in the country’s history.