20 Mar 2011

Japan’s miracle rescues nine days after tsunami

A pensioner and a teenager have been pulled alive from the rubble of the Japanese tsunami. The good news comes as officials say 15,000 people may have been killed in Miyagi prefecture alone.

Amid the death and destruction wreaked by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami there has been some reason to smile.

An 80-year old woman and 16-year old youth were found alive under the rubble in the devastated city of Ishinomaki, nine days after the disaster.

Sumi and Jin Abe were trapped when their home collapsed but were able to get food from the refrigerator and survive until rescuers found them.

The rare good news emerging from Japan came as officials in Miyagi prefecture estimated around 15,000 people may have died there alone.

The number of people confirmed dead in Japan has risen to more than 8,000 but 12,000 are still missing.

Many of the survivors are homeless and facing food and fuel shortages as well as freezing temperatures.

Channel 4 News chief correspondent Alex Thomson is in Otsuchi which he says is the biggest area of tsunami destruction he has seen.

He tweeted that the army has been impressive: building roads and collecting the dead with dignity in awful circumstances.

Photo gallery - Japan quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis
Japan: 16-year-old Jin Abe is carried by rescue workers from the rubble in Ishinomaki City (Reuters)

Fukushima nuclear plant ‘improving step by step’

Japan has restored power to a crippled nuclear reactor in its race to avert disaster at the Fukushima site.

Three hundred engineers have been struggling inside the danger zone to salvage the plant in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

“I think the situation is improving step by step,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama told a news conference.

At the nuclear plant, workers braving high radiation levels in suits sealed in duct tape managed to connect power to the No. 2 reactor, crucial to their attempts to cool it down and limit the leak of deadly radiation.

Officials at plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said the workers aimed to restore the control room function, lights and the cooling at the No. 1 reactor, which is connected to the No.2 reactor by cable.