- Title: JAPAN: Tsunami hit Kesennuma buries victims
- Date: 28th March 2011
- Summary: KESENNUMA CITY, MIYAGI PREFECTURE, JAPAN (MARCH 27, 2011) (REUTERS) DESTROYED DOWNTOWN AREA OF KESENNUMA GROUNDED SHIP THAT COLLIDED WITH BUILDING COFFINS LAID OUT ON GROUND WITH FAMILY MEMBERS LOOKING AT THEM FAMILY MEMBERS LOOKING AT COFFINS FAMILY MEMBERS AROUND COFFINS FAMILY MEMBERS CRYING AROUND COFFIN WOMAN CRYING AT HER MOTHER'S COFFIN WOMAN CRYING AT COFFIN MORE OF FAMILY CRYING AT COFFIN WOMAN PUTTING RICE CAKES INTO COFFIN MORE OF WOMAN PUTTING RICE CAKES INTO COFFIN FAMILY MEMBERS LOOKING AT COFFINS MORE OF FAMILY MEMBERS LOOKING AT COFFINS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 60 YEAR-OLD FUNERAL VISITOR MASATO SATO SAYING: "As for what will eventually happen, until things calm down, we can't do anything. Of course we'd prefer to have them cremated in the coffin, but as all of this has happened we'll have to just wait and see what we can do." WORKERS PUTTING NAILS IN COFFINS AS FAMILY CRIES IN BACKGROUND FAMILY CRYING AT COFFIN WORKERS PUTTING NAILS IN COFFIN WORKERS CARRYING AWAY COFFINS MORE OF WORKERS CARRYING AWAY COFFINS GROUNDED SHIP IN MIDDLE OF CITY PERSON POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPH IN FRONT OF GROUNDED SHIP JAPANESE SELF DEFENSE FORCE(SDF) TROOPS WALKING DOWN STREET SDF TROOPS IN FRONT OF EXCAVATOR CLEANING UP STREET BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPH BY SIDE OF ROAD
- Embargoed: 12th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA5LF1OD3DT90CHBHAL1TJNJ2IL
- Story Text: The devastated port city of Kesennuma buried victims of the massive quake and tsunami on Sunday (March 27) as efforts to clean up the town continued.
The port city, home to about 74,000 inhabitants, was devastated by tsunami waves that swept away cars, ships and buildings, leaving thousands missing and the city a muddy wasteland.
While it is customary in Japan to cremate bodies of the deceased, Kesennuma has been overwhelmed by the sheer number of dead bodies.
The number of dead in Kesennuma was 551 as of Saturday (March 26), far too many for local crematoriums that can typically manage about 10 bodies a day but are now facing shortages of kerosene.
Another 1,448 are missing from the March 11 quake and tsunami that left more than 27,500 people dead or missing across Japan.
Cremation facilities have been unable to keep up and as a stop-gap measure the city has decided to bury the bodies until they can be cremated.
Families lined up to identify the bodies and then said their final farewells to their loved ones.
"As for what will eventually happen, until things calm down, we can't do anything. Of course we'd prefer to have them cremated in the coffin, but as all of this has happened we'll have to just wait and see what we can do," said 60 year-old Masato Sato.
The city plans to continue burying victims at a rate of 20 per day. The area being used can hold up to 625 bodies.
A total of 10,489 people were confirmed dead by Japan's National Police Agency as of 1200 GMT on Saturday (March 26), while 16,621 were missing.
Over 240,000 people were living in shelters around the country as the authorities battled with a nuclear crisis at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.
Japan's March 11 quake of magnitude 9.0 surpassed the Great Kanto quake of Sept. 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None