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Japan battles on as humanitarian crisis deepens

Japan battles on as humanitarian crisis deepens
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The people of Otsuchi, like much of north east Japan, are struggling. The small fishing town was completely wiped out by the massive quake and tsunami.

Despite a huge rescue effort, an unseasonal snowstorm has made the search for survivors almost impossible and hopes in Otsuchi are gradually fading of pulling more people out alive.

Hundreds of thousands of residents in this part of the country have been made homeless by this disaster. Many remain in makeshift shelters, cold and hungry. Despite that, some supplies are getting through.

“We get one bowl of soup or one piece of bread to share among three people, and a few snacks. So I’m a little concerned about my daughter not getting enough nutrition. But it’s better than not eating at all,” one young mother said.

Increasingly overshadowed by the continuing nuclear crisis, its easy to forget the scale of this disaster. Thousands still remain unaccounted for.

Special telephone lines have been set up for survivors to call friends and family. While the Japanese are renowned for their stoicism many are battling to cope. Others are still holding on to the faint hope of finding loved ones. Parents of one missing man spoke of their desperate search through the debris to find their son.

“It’s been four or five days now. We don’t thing he’s going to come back now. We are starting to lose hope,” the missing man’s mother says.

In Tokyo, streets have been left deserted as fears of aftershocks and contamination from nuclear radiation grip the city. Earlier, euronews spoke with one Tokyo resident who admitted, given the choice, she’d like to leave.

“Yes I should but my situation is that my sister is going to have a baby in 2 weeks and she is not in condition to travel especially by air so I feel that i need to be with her at least until she give birth”.

But there are some good news stories. A doctor who stayed in his post to treat tsunami victims was reunited with his wife three days later, and was witness to the birth of their son.