'It's like a disaster movie'

 Once a picturesque village and farmland, this area in Natori is now littered with wrecks. — NST picture by Sairien Nafis
Once a picturesque village and farmland, this area in Natori is now littered with wrecks.
"THIS is terrible, I don't think they can rebuild this airport any more. Sendai needs a new airport," said driver and guide Kaneo Hayagawa, 61, as he walked through what was left of the terminals yesterday.The airport and its surrounding industrial zone were wiped out by the tsunami following the massive earthquake that hit Japan on March 11.

The scene was one of annihilation, the stuff that you see in disaster movies, with vehicles strewn everywhere in the rubble of flattened buildings.

Mountains of garbage and debris covered the main transport facility that once housed the main airport for the northern region of Japan.

Aid workers and Japanese Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) members were still scouring the area for survivors.

Excavators and backhoes were deployed to clear the debris.

There were no mangled bodies or putrid stench because of the intermittent snow and the efficient efforts of the authorities.

Earlier, a check by Media Prima journalists covering the disaster revealed extensive damage in the outskirts of Sendai and semi-rural areas.

The villages and padi fields in Natori, on the way to Sendai airport, were levelled.

Villages that once stood beside the Tohoku Expressway were gone, with only debris and some personal belongings, such as badminton rackets and handbags, sticking out of the mud.

A worker tasked with clearing Natori's expressways lamented through a translator: "This is very sad as Sendai was considered the centre of the Tohoku region's economy. It was also the regional base for logistics and transportation."

However, the worker expressed confidence that the Japanese people would be united in rebuilding the area.

At the centre of Sendai city, which was not hit by the tsunami, hundreds of city dwellers queued up to buy foodstuff and necessities from supermarkets that were still open.

Many businesses were closed. People were also queuing up for petrol.

The lack of police or JSDF personnel was not a problem as the locals were well disciplined. We could imagine how different it would be for Malaysians without police presence.

Hayagawa said anarchy or looting was far from the average Japanese's mind.

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