Human survival: those who outran the tsunami | world | Hindustan Times
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Human survival: those who outran the tsunami

Japanese tsunami survivors who were able to outrun the killer waves that raged out of the sea, have recalled how they saw those behind them consumed by the torrent of mud and debris.

world Updated: Mar 15, 2011 00:47 IST

Japanese tsunami survivors who were able to outrun the killer waves that raged out of the sea, have recalled how they saw those behind them consumed by the torrent of mud and debris.

Miki Otomo’s sister was one of the fortunate. “My older sister was in a bus when the wave came behind them. The bus driver told everybody to get out of the bus and run,” said Otomo.

“My sister was able to get away but some people just couldn’t run fast enough,” she said, adding they were engulfed by the swirling tsunami.

Otomo, whose home was destroyed in the twin disasters, says she quickly piled her father and her dog in the car in a desperate bid to survive.

Otomo is now living at an evacuation centre in an area school with about 1,000 other exhausted survivors who cheated death. Authorities fear that at least 10,000 people may have lost their lives.

In the gymnasium at the Rokugo junior high school, more than 100 people huddled in blankets on the floor as emergency food supplies were brought in.

At the entrance to the main hall, a neat arrangement of shoes is a testament to tradition, despite the disaster.

But there are no signs now of uniformed personnel — the centre is manned by teams of volunteers who help distribute supplies. Across the street, people queue calmly with their jerrycans for petrol.

Some people are still too shocked to express the terror of their ordeal, let alone face the uncertainty of their future, Maki Kobari, an English teacher explained.

“Some people lost their whole families, they lost everything,” she said.