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Sunday, 24 April 2011

SDF/National guard work off the coast of Sendai.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 4:11pm
Warning: This is not pleasant reading.
My ex husband and father of my boys is a national guard/self defense force reserve/retired member. He was called up  last week to look for bodies along the coast. He just got back and today, when I went to give him his care package, he told me about his experience. It sounds pretty harrowing to say the least.

The soldiers worked from 5am until dark for their week in turn, searching among debris and rubble for bodies and personal belongings. He says the dust in the air was so thick from debris everyone had to wear masks and goggles and some members got sick. They saw cars piled up one on top of each other ..sideways and back to houses left ...just pieces of wood and occasionally recognizable pieces of furniture washed up on top of the piles of wreckage and rubble.

They had to look in furniture if they saw any; one soldier in his regiment found 2 million yen in a tansu/chest and luckily it was in a bag with some form of ID so this will be returned to relatives surviving. He told me that all money and personal possessions found were being taken to centers and would be given to relatives instead of body remains which are proving so hard to find. Hundreds of these bodies, given tide direction, have washed up farther south along the coast of Fukushima which is of course a no entry (radioactive) zone so  people cannot search and may not be allowed near there for months or years yet.

Many elderly Japanese keep large sums of money in their rooms rather than the bank. It is said there has been a lot of money washed up on the shores.At the moment only the police and SDF are allowed near the shore. A little farther inland where there are refugees in shelters, charities can reach but the coastal devastation is being kept very private.

He says that he personally found carcasses of pets; one dog, 2 cats and a bird (in a cage). They had to wade into rice fields that were full of water up to their necks and feel around with sticks for heavy weights below.

Their team found no human bodies. The next regiment along found only two. Searching will continue through May.

He said he expected to see more recognizable items -but everything is charred and brown and most items have turned to dust and were shattered by smashing into each other in the power of the waves. He said many people may have lost their lives like this before drowning.

He's gone to bed for a few days with a bad cold and fever.