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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Latest Updates on Japan's Nuclear Crisis and Earthquake Aftermath -

March 16, 2011, 9:00 am

Latest Updates on Japan’s Nuclear Crisis and Earthquake Aftermath

A live stream of video from NHK, Japan’s state broadcaster, with simultaneous English translation. (Click the play button at lower left to watch the video on this blog.)

On Wednesday, The Lede continues to supplement reporting from our colleagues in Japan on the aftermath of a devastating 9.0 earthquake, including efforts to regain control of a damaged nuclear plant. Updates below feature reports from other news sites and firsthand accounts and video posted on social networks. A Twitter stream in the right column of this blog includes messages from journalists and officials in Japan.

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11:39 A.M. |Town Struck by Tsunami in 1960 Ruined Again

This video report from Alex Thomson of Britain's Channel 4 News shows survivors camped out in an intact concrete theater in the ruined town of Ofunato, in Japan's northeastern Iwate Prefecture, on Tuesday night:

Mr. Thomson's report shows the fairly good conditions inside the town's shelter in its concrete, brutalist theater, as well as a sign clearly marking the tsunami escape route from the coast.

As my colleagues James Glanz and Norimitsu Onishi reported on Friday, in Ofunato, "which was struck by a major tsunami in 1960, dozens of signs in Japanese and English mark escape routes, and emergency sirens are tested three times a day."

In May, 1960 The New York Times published this photograph of the destruction of Ofunato by tsunami waves generated by a massive earthquake in Chile:

An image of the destruction of the         Japanese town of Ofunato by a tsunami in May, 1960. An image of the destruction of the Japanese town of Ofunato by a tsunami in May, 1960.

This video of the tsunami washing away buildings on Friday was posted on YouTube by a blogger who said that it was filmed in Ofunato during the catastrophe:

On Saturday, BBC News broadcast this video showing the immediate aftermath of the tsunami:

Perhaps because the town's vulnerability to tsunamis is well-known, as the Channel 4 News report mentions, international rescue and recovery crews from China, Britain and the United States were dispatched to Ofunato this week.

As Stars and Stripes newspaper reported from Ofunato on Tuesday, the search for survivors among the rubble was difficult:

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