SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

The World

March 29, 2011

Tsunami-swept island cut off from power and water

OSHIMA, Japan — After more than two weeks without a proper bath, some residents on this tsunami-hit island decided to take matters into their own hands.

"My skin is starting to itch," 75-year-old Kumao Nakano said, as his neighbors assembled a makeshift bathhouse. "We're going to use this bathroom, which somehow was left standing. We found this old boiler, so we can heat water and pour it into the bathtub for everyone to use."

Six tsunamis swept onto this island off Japan's devastated northeast coast after the powerful offshore earthquake on March 11. The disaster severed water and electricity from the mainland, and it may be months before they are restored. Survivors from this community of 3,500 are banding together and resurrecting bygone practices to get by.

"I go to the river two or three times a day to get water," said Sayuri Nakayama, 25, nodding toward a steep path at the start of a half-mile trek. She rinsed a pot clean of rice, so she could use it to heat water to wash her one-year-old daughter Elena. Her laundry, scrubbed by hand, hung around her.

Televisions, blow dryers, space heaters lay jumbled amid the splintered wreckage around her, the appliances all quiet now without power.

An old wood-burning stove, dragged into a small clearing with a view of the ocean below, has become the meeting place for this part of the island, known as Isokusa. Residents, many now living on the upper floors of a nearby hotel, sit on logs and feed scraps of their ruined homes into the stove to stay warm.

"The thing I miss most is electricity," said Sadao Komatsu, 61, as he leaned into the heat.

Residents subsisted for a couple of weeks on bread and canned food, but now rice and other staples have begun to arrive by small boat. A large crane on a barge is slowly clearing the main bay of debris, including several houses whose roofs stick out of the water.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The World

AP Video
Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Today in History for August 1st Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire US Warns Against Traveling to Ebola-hit Areas Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Today in History for July 31st Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up