Wastelands of mud and debris now stretch along Japan's northeast coast where towns and villages used to be, consumed by a terrifying tsunami triggered by Japan's biggest ever earthquake. The port town of Minamisanriku was practically erased, over half its 17,500 population unaccounted for after huge waves inundated the area following the 8.9 magnitude quake, a hospital one of few structures remaining.
For the lucky ones, such as some residents in Kamaishi city, tsunami evacuation sirens came quickly enough for them to scramble up to higher ground. The sheer power of the water tossed cars like small toys, and upturned lorries that now litter the roads in Sendai city where the haunting drone of tsunami sirens at one point echoed into the cold night.
"I was trying to escape with my husband, but water quickly emerged against us and forced us to run up to the second story of a house of people we don't even know at all," she told NHK.
"Water still came up to the second floor, and before our eyes, the house's owner and his daughter were flushed away. We couldn't do anything. Nothing."