Cleanup Begins in Fishing Town of Minamisanriku, Northeast Japan

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A fishing town in northeast Japan destroyed by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami is now beginning cleanup efforts to clear the debris. At least 400 people in the town are dead Thousands of buildings and houses were damaged and swept away in the disaster.

A wasteland of debris is all that is left of Minamisanriku, a fishing town in Miyagi prefecture.

The town, about 62 miles northeast of Sendai, was destroyed in the 9.0-maginitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Around 400 people in Minamisanriku are dead with another 800 missing. Nearly 10,000 residents have evacuated the town leaving it deserted.

Residents who stayed behind have begun to clear the pieces of debris and burning them.

[Nobuo Omori, Local]:
"These were parts of someone's house, including my own, only 18 days ago, and they're now turning into ashes. It's very sad to me.”

Several damaged buildings spared by the tsunami were scattered through the town. One had a car left perched on the edge of its roof. Around 5,000 houses were swept away.

Some residents are reluctant to stay.

[Kazuaki Stou, Local]:
"Every night I dream of my normal life in which I live in my home with my family; then, I wake up and realize they're only in my dreams; they were all swept away by the tsunami. I don't want to live here again. I'm scared.”

A couple of days ago authorities started to lay cables to restore electricity, but the work will take several more days to complete.