Saturday, April 9, 2011

A new earthquake has revived the nightmare of March 11 in Japan

Otsuchi (Japan), Special Envoy - "It's the return of the nightmare ..." In his pajamas, the innkeeper is stormed out of his room. It is a little before midnight and the wooden house began to shake all of its walls. First there was a thud - "the rumble of the earth", they say here. Then the vibration increased in intensity, reaching a magnitude of 7.1.

This is the strongest aftershock since the earthquake of Friday, March 11. But this time no giant wave, no tsunami. A Otsuchi (15 000 inhabitants), a town near the sea in Iwate Prefecture, the new earthquake has caused dismay among the victims. Otsuchi was one of the cities most devastated by the earthquake of 11 March.

Nothing remains, rubble and debris of the ruins. There are 600 dead and more than a thousand missing. And 9000 people were evacuated. "It was like March 11 and they rushed to evacuate," said the devastated mother who lives in a nursing home Shiroyama on a hill overlooking the city. The cemetery a little downwards but high enough to avoid being hit by waves offers a landscape of desolation.

A young woman sitting on the stairs smoking a cigarette, crying silently. "My family is somewhere out there," she said, pointing to the city that is no more. After the reply, some have left in haste during the night. On the roads, we could see hundreds of car headlights shine. To go where? Somewhere higher up.

Others remain stoic. As this busy old couple near a pipe in the ruins of which flows of fresh water continuously. They do their laundry. "We're used to earthquakes but this time she was very strong," said the man. "We thought once again. Never have respite ..." "The house? Caught March 11.

She was there." The immediate concern of all? The future, if one exists. "What will we become? We have nothing, no house, no boat for my husband who was a fisherman," said a weeping woman. For strength, this new replica reminded that nothing is finished and the earth rumbles still, dropping one notch the hope that gradually built the victims.

Most expect to rebuild their lives. "Here" for some, "far from the sea" for others. All efforts to find a balance. "To die is ultimately what? Me I survived, he is dead. Nobody can criticize fate. But why him and not me?" Asks the old man continued to wring his clothes. Frail and pale in his sweat too much, Kayo Iwama, aged 73, lost everything.

From her house, there is only one concrete slab. On 11 March she was at home. "I felt that something terrible would happen," she says. She straddled his bike and pedaled with all his might: "It was like a horror movie, the tide was right behind me." And swallowed her. For three hours, she has survived and was rescued.

From a viewpoint overlooking the majestic bay at the end of which nestled a view that is no longer a solitary pair of lovers hugging each other. Life starts again, against all odds ... Philippe Pons Article published in the edition of 09.04.11

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