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New Reactor Building Blast; Sendai's Suffering; Relief Efforts; Disaster in Japan; One Reporter's Account; Fading Hopes; Town Destroyed; Battle for Libya

Aired March 14, 2011 - 01:00   ET


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN Headquarters here in Atlanta. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to our special coverage of the disaster in Japan.

It is mid-afternoon there right now, and we want to bring you up-to- date on information that we have from a nation overwhelmed by two disasters as well as concern and anxiety over an emergency at a nuclear plant. Six people have been injured in a new explosion in Northeastern Japan. It was a hydrogen blast occurring at the building that houses the number three reactor within the country's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. Now, officials say the number three reactor was not damaged in today's explosion.

Also, a horrific discovery. Officials have just found 2,000 bodies at Northern Japan's Miyagi prefecture which was the hardest hit during Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami. Those bodies tragically add to the official death toll of more than 1,600, and all-out search for survivors is still under way.

Well, CNN's Stan Grant is in Tokyo, and he's been following the latest developments at those two nuclear power plants that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, and he joins us now. Of course, we mention those two emergencies. I want to go first to the Fukushima plant because that's where, of course, we've been reporting this hydrogen blast. What information have you been able to pull together on this?

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a hydrogen blast, very much a carbon copy of what happened in the number one reactor at Daiichi just the other day. Now, this was fully expected. They've warned of this as the pressure has built in an effort to try to cool the reactor. It has increased the prospect of a buildup of hydrogen and explosion, and that has what happened. And as has happened in the number one reactor, the officials here have been at pains to make clear that it is not the reactor itself.

The reactor is not damaged. The explosion was outside the reactor. It was in the building that houses the reactor. Now, it has caused damage. It has blown apart a wall in the outer part of the building as did the one just the other day. Now, six people were injured as you say in that, as well, and we're monitoring just the extent of those injuries. Radiation is also being another concern. It's led to this 20 kilometer, 12 or 13-mile exclusion zone being established and 200,000 people being evacuated from their homes.

Now, according to nuclear safety officials here, those radiation levels have been coming down. Good indication just the other day at the height of this, it was about 1,500 microsievert which is the measurement in nuclear radiation per hour. Now, that was thought to be as much as a normal person would come in contact with in a whole year. That's per hour. That has dropped now.

The measurement they're getting inside the plant is 50 microsievert, and 5 km from the plant, it dropped to only 1 microsievert. So, they're saying this does not pose a threat to people. There's no risk to people's health at this stage. Of course, all precautions and a time reminder there are 600 people still in their houses within that exclusion zone for various reasons and, of course, they're being advised to stay inside, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Stan, of course, we mentioned that second nuclear emergency. What information have you got on that?

GRANT: Yes, it's that Onagawa, of course, another plant. This has been an ongoing situation. You know, each hour seems to bring new developments since this nuclear emergency was first declared after the earthquake and the reactor started to shut down. We understand that's a low level emergency and, again, an issue with heating, but they seem to be stabilizing. On the issue of the overheating of the reactors too, Rosemary, they're continuing to pump seawater into the reactors to try to stabilize it.

We understand that the number one reactor that is working that had managed to stabilize it there. In the number three, the reactor was still exposed, so the risk is going to continue to heat, but they're pushing more water in there to maintain some stability and keep it as cool as they possibly can, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Stan Grant keeping us abreast of all those developments from Tokyo, appreciate that.

So, what do the problems at the nuclear plants mean for people in the area? That's the big question we're all asking. The explosions and radiation releases are raising uncertainty about the near and long- term effects, a lot of anxiety, as well, and we asked Dr. Ira Helfand about the possible consequences on people nearby.


DR. IRA HELFAND, PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: After Chernobyl, there were several thousand cases of thyroid cancer in children which exposed to radiologic amount of (INAUDIBLE). Strong human cesium are very long. There's an isotope (ph) structure gets into your bones. It stays there biological half of 30 years. It remains radioactive for 600 years and causes bone cancer and leukemia and other malignancies.

Cesium-137 also is very long -- biological half-time only about (INAUDIBLE). It remains radioactive about 600 years. The biological half-life is the amount of time it spends in the body before it's excreted. Cesium irradiates the entire body and causes a variety of different cancers. Now, plutonium is primarily a cause of lung cancer. It is dangerous when it's inhaled in the lung.


CHURCH: And for more on what the earthquake has done to Japan's nuclear reactors, you can reach us online. You'll find the answers to a number of your questions at

Of course, there are only so many answers after human tragedy of this magnitude. What does one say to families who've lost their loved ones or still don't know what's happened to them? For many still waiting for word despair sets in as the hours tick by and those hours turn to days. Listen now to one woman unsure of her teenage daughter's fate after Friday's tsunami sweep them from a three-story building.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translator): A tsunami hit me. I grabbed something tight holding my daughter's hand, but I lost my grip where I was swept away in the debris and water. I managed to survive, but my daughter was washed away. I don't know what to say. I hope my daughter is still alive somewhere.


CHURCH: Just too tragic to bear, and in the middle of the staggering loss, there have been some moments of hope. Thousands of people have been rescued including this 60-year-old man who was found clinging to the wreckage of his roof. That was two days after the tsunami. Another survivor said he found the will to live by thinking of his family as he floated amid the debris.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translator): I thought I was dying when I was pushed into the water. But my thought for my family, I decided to make every effort to survive.


CHURCH: Well, of course, we have been hearing a lot of these emotional stories from Japan and bringing them to you. We want to take just a moment now to look at the location of the cities that we're talking about. Here's the map. now, you can see Sendai is close to the quake's epicenter. So, we are talking about the northeastern part of Japan here. Now, closer still to the epicenter, Kesennuma, we've yet to see scenes of devastation from that area.

Also worth noting here, Fukushima. We've been talking about that. That, of course, is where those two power plants have been damaged, and authorities have released radioactive steam to relieve pressure in the reactors and, of course, as we heard, and we've been reporting, they are pouring seawater in there to try to cool down those reactors, that, of course, an indication that there won't be any life at that plant after that. They've decided this is the last resort using seawater will, of course, damage that plant. It will never be used again, and we're talking about $1 billion there. So, this is how critical this is when they take that sort of decision.

Well, if you've been following this story, you know that Sendai is a Japanese coastal city that was near the epicenter of that earthquake as we just told you. Now, beyond the damage incurred by the quake, this city took a direct hit from the tsunami. And the images we've gathered from Sendai embody the tragedy that's unraveling across Japan. Martin Savidge brings us a closer look now the devastation in Sendai.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How do you begin to search what looks like the end of the world. In the seaside city of Sendai, emergency teams carefully pick their way through the devastation. Dwarfed by the size of the tsunami's impact, often the teams are trailed by anxious civilians looking for any signs of missing loved ones. I wanted to ask this man who he was looking for, but I never got the chance.

SAVIDGE (on-camera): So, we were starting to follow this, what appears to be a search crew, but now, the problem is that, apparently, there's been another tsunami warning. So, the crew and everyone else here is being told to get away, which they're doing.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's hard to tell how real the threat may be. Nerves in Sendai are very much still on edge. Officials shout their warnings, load up and head for higher ground. We go in the opposite direction, heading toward the coast, and the closer we get, the more unreal the scenery. The tidal surge rushed inland in some places six miles. Getting around is difficult. Many roads here are impassable.

Adding to the apocalyptic scenes, huge fires continue to burn unchecked, thick black smoke and flames boil from a refinery. As we video the scene, we notice something else.

SAVIDGE (on-camera): Up until now, we've heard the sirens, we've heard the announcements another tsunami coming, but nobody really seemed to be that anxious. Then, all of a sudden, we noticed the water here. It's racing out. We're leaving.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Fortunately, the threat never materializes, which is a good thing because Sendai has already seen more than its share of hell and high water.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sendai, Japan.


CHURCH: It most certainly has.

And just ahead, we will look at some of the efforts to get help to those who need it most in Japan. Aid organizations are mobilizing. We will hear how one is hoping to make life a little more normal for some of the younger survivors.


CHURCH: Video showing the shaking ground literally splitting in Northeastern Japan on Friday. It was captured by an NHK reporter in the city of Ishinomaki, and that's located in Japan's Miyagi prefecture, though, the woman was among the many caught in the middle of Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami. She did manage to take these pictures even while fleeing for her safety.

Well, relief is coming in from all corners of the world. Japan's foreign ministry now says 69 governments are offering help from the United States. The "USS Ronald Reagan" aircraft carrier started rescue and relief operations off the Japanese coast. Ten U.S. navy ships are bound for the country. Then, from the United Kingdom, the British government is sending 11 tons of rescue equipment. Teams from Australia also are on the way. Other nations offering to pitch in include Canada, Spain, France and Germany, and China has sent equipment, military manpower and medicine.

Well, these rescue teams, of course, are facing huge challenges in finding survivors and actually getting them out. Brian Todd is with some of them as they prepare for the very difficult task ahead.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We just landed at Misawa Air Base in Northern Japan where the Fairfax County and L.A. County search and rescue teams. This is the Fairfax County group. You see them preparing their gear. They are waiting for the orders as to where to deploy into the quake zone where the worst hit areas are. They have a lot of equipment that have been -- has been brought with them along with dog teams, inflatable boats, jackhammers, things like that. All the things are going to need to go into these areas and extract victims from the rubble of the quake.

It's been a long haul from Washington, D.C. area for this team. We stopped in L.A. to pick up the L.A. County search and rescue team, and we headed to Anchorage, Alaska for refueling, then, just landed here at Misawa Air Base, just in a bit of a hauling (ph) pattern now for the next couple of hours, waiting for orders to deploy into the quake zone. These guys are very eager to get started.

What they'll do as soon as we get to the quake zone is set up a base camp. And even while they're doing that, some of the team is going to be out just doing recon and already getting into those areas to start to extract people from the rubble.

Brian Todd, CNN, Misawa Air Base, Japan.


CHURCH: Well, besides searching for survivors, teams are mobilizing from around the world to get food and other necessities to the survivors. The group save the children says it is hoping to bring smiles to some of the young victims who were traumatized. Team leader, Stephan McDonald talked with our Pauline Chiou last hour.


STEPHAN MCDONALD, TEAM LEADER, "save the children": Our main goal over the next few hours, the next few days, is going to be trying to support the children and families in a way that helps them feel like there's a little bit of normality left in their lives. We want the kids to be able to play again. We want them to be able to smile, and you know, after my teams came back from assessments yesterday, and the stories they were telling me about children even in Chiba prefecture are just absolutely heartbreaking.

PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: What were some of the stories that they were telling you? Can you share some of them with us?

MCDONALD: Yes. They were telling me that the stories two sisters, 10-year-old and 11-year-old who were with their grandmother when the tsunami struck, destroyed their house. They're now living in the school with a large group of other evacuees. There's no running water. They can't flush the toilets. They're being hit with continual aftershocks.

These children are scared. They're frightened. They're stressed. Their parents are stressed. You know, the one thing that this little 10-year-old girl said to us she just wants to go back to school so she can be with her friends.


CHURCH: And of course, if you would like to help the victims of the Japan earthquake, you can find more information at Our "Impact Your World" team is collecting links to organizations that are mobilizing relief efforts in Japan, and on that page, you'll also find a link to Google's people finder. That's a database that aims to reunite those who are separated in all that chaos. Now, again, that's at

Well, crews searching for the missing aren't just up against the clock, they're also battling cold weather in Japan, and Jill Brown joins us now from the International Weather Center with more on that because, of course, it's critical that the weather plays some positive part in these rescue efforts. It doesn't seem to be playing.

JILL BROWN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. The last few days, the weather has been pretty good, but I notice that some of that video you just showed, snowed snowflakes falling and more cold weather and snow is on the way which we'll show you the storm system coming in here in just a second. Want to show you this. This is from the USGS website, and all of these dots on here indicate where there have been, of course, the initial earthquake, and then, all of the aftershocks.

I mean just dotted all up and down the coast here, more than 300 aftershocks. As a matter of fact, I can show you. Here's a close-up. I want to take a quick look at this. This is live from the website right now, and if I click here, you can see, this is a list of all of the aftershocks that registered 5.0 or higher and look how long it goes, on and on and on. This is just since Friday. And you can just see -- you can imagine there couldn't be anything really more cruel than that is someone who's been through this trauma to constantly have to feel yet another tremor, but that's what's going on.

Of course, this will probably be one of the luckier location. This is probably what every place looks like that survived the earthquake, so a mess, yes, but the building is still standing. So, we take a look at our forecast. This is what we're looking at. This is a forecast for the next 48 hours. What's coming in is rain first and then snow. So, temperatures have been above average. They're about to become below average and the high for Wednesday, Thursday, will be in the low single digits.

So, one of the other things that we think will be changing is the wind direction. So, the upper level winds for the next 48 hours still expected to be from west to east, offshore, that's good news. Surface winds will switch. They're going to become onshore probably by tomorrow. Overnight tonight into the tomorrow with the storm system approaching once it goes past cold northwest winds, so that will bring the colder temperatures but the winds offshore again.

And of course, the reason why that's important is the fear of radiation, and if any of it is in relation to the atmosphere, we'd rather have an offshore wind. So, there's your forecast. Starting the sun tomorrow, going to rain, rain changing to snow on Wednesday. High of only two degrees by Thursday. So, weather, Rosemary, definitely not cooperating as we go through the next few days. Back to you.

CHURCH: It most certainly is not. Thanks so much, Jill, for keeping an eye on that and bringing us the details.

Well, still to come, millions of Japanese households are without water and electricity, and this is the scene in some supermarkets after a long wait to get in, shoppers are then finding there's very little left to buy. We will look at how millions are struggling without their everyday supplies.


CHURCH: All right. We want to take stock of the damage to Japan's infrastructure as well as the human devastation here after the earthquake and tsunami hit. Early estimates suggest it could top $100 billion, and for more on the effect, this colossal earthquake and tsunami could have on the Japanese economy, we're going to go to "World Business Today's" anchor, Andrew Stevens, who is in Hong Kong. So, what sort of hit did it take, the market?

ANDREW STEVENS, ANCHOR, WORLD BUSINESS TODAY: Well, Rosemary, we were expecting a big hit on the Nikkei today when it opened, and we certainly got that. You have to go back to 2008 when the Lehman Brothers company collapsed, and we saw huge amounts of disruption right across the world as it falls (ph) like this, 6 1/2 percent. The Nikkei is still trading in Tokyo. We've got slightly less than an hour to go now. So, that's what you're seeing, 6.4 percent down. And this is really based on fears about weakening economic growth and weakening corporate earnings and take a look as now the big losers. The Toshiba Corporation, they make nuclear reactors, self-evident why they're down by 16.3 percent. Tokio Marine Holdings, one of the biggest insurance companies, general insurance companies in Japan down by 14 percent. The insurance companies, obviously, facing enormous payouts. It's not just those two either.

If you look at as a group, the automakers, Toyota down nearly 8 percent down, Nissan more than 10 percent, Honda around about 8 percent, all on the fact that we are going to get rolling power outages in Japan which is going to affect production. We've already heard from Toyota that they are going to cease all production in Japan until, at least, the end of Wednesday. That means about 40,000 units will not be built over the next couple of days.

That's what investors are worried about. That hit on corporate earnings when you see these sort of shutdowns. Now, that's what happened in the stock market, Rosemary. Let's look at a bigger picture. What was the Bank of Japan doing? This is the central bank. There are meeting today, anyway. They reacted very quickly. They injected $186 billion of funds into the financial system. The point of that is is to make sure there's ample liquidity in the system, so the banks keep lending to each other.

Business goes on as much as normal. There's plenty of money for loans. It just smooth things over in this time of great uncertainty about what the actual eventual economic impact will be. That was a record for the Bank of Japan. As I say, they've got a meeting. They have a meeting at 12:00 noon today, and quickly, on the yen, because this injection by the Bank of Japan did have an impact on the yen. Initially, the yen went up quite sharply against the U.S. dollar because people saw that they were going to have to buy billions and billions of dollars' worth of yen.

You had that figure, $100 billion on reconstruction costs. A lot of that will be paid for in yen, so the yen went up sharply. It's around about 80.6 to the U.S. dollar. That's close to its all-time record and since come back 82 now against the U.S. dollar after that injection of funds going to the market. So, the yen is back roughly around about where it was before the quake, but certainly, there has been an impact, broad impact across all sectors of the financial markets today. Again, Rosemary, not surprising, although, the market fall was bigger than most had expected.

CHURCH: And, of course, Andrew, it begs the question what sort of impact or effect could this have on overall economic growth on Japan?

STEVENS: Yes, obviously, to give any definite numbers, but a lot of it (INAUDIBLE) just how much damage, you know, the search and rescue teams are still fanning out. We just don't know the size and extent of the devastation, but we can assume it is going to be absolutely terrible. Now, if you look at economic growth, one thing working in the overall Japanese economy's favor is Miyagi province which bore the brunt of the tsunami and where most of the damage is only contributes about 2 percent the overall Japanese economy. In fact, those four top provinces in Northern Japan which took the biggest hits, between them, only take about 8 percent, add about 8 percent to the overall Japanese economy. So, if it were closer to Tokyo, for example, into the industrial heartland, there would have been a massive impact, massive disruption for the Japanese economy. But, having said that, it is still uncertain. We still have these power outages like we saw with Toyota. They are closing down their production. How long these power outages continue for? Obviously, depends on the crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Plants.

We don't know when that's going to be fixed. We don't know when they can get back to normal production. I want to add just one thing, Rosemary. Manufacturing in Japan, most people see Japan as this enormous export engine which it is, but it only accounts for about a fifth of the total Japanese economy. So, the impact of manufacturing may be significant on parts of manufacturing, but again, on the overall economy, it might be slightly diffused.

But analysts are saying, certainly, there will be an impact on the overall Japanese economy, very difficult, impossible to say at the moment exactly how big it's going to be.

CHURCH: A lot unknown at this point. Andrew Stevens bringing us although critical points from Hong Kong. Appreciate it.

I want to take a look now at some of the other ways people in Japan are being impacted by this disaster. About 2.5 million households were without electricity Sunday, and that's just a little more than 4 percent of the total number of homes in Japan. The country's prime minister has told residents to expect rolling blackouts in some areas including Tokyo, and that, of course, is an order to preserve electricity.

Well, Japanese media report at least 1.4 million households have no water, and residents standing in line to get water from some 100 government vehicles that are distributing it to residents. Aid workers say water shortages at some evacuation centers are creating insanitary conditions, and this is always a problem in the aftermath of a disaster on the scale of this. Now, trains that would normally connect Tokyo with Northern Japan have suspended service, lack of electricity, and damaged tracks have forced Japan's famous bullet train system to shut down.

Tokyo commuter trains were up and running this morning, but many residents say they are too afraid to use them. That is totally understandable, and fuel and food are in short supply across the earthquake zone. People are reporting long waits to get into supermarkets, and once inside, where there's very little left on the shelves to buy, and lines are long at gas stations as well and some places. No fuel is available because of infrastructure damage. Even lines at donation sites, places where food and water actually are being distributed are several blocks long.

Now, "The Wall Street Journal" reports that Japan's disaster could turn out to be the costliest ever for the insurance industry. A disaster modeling company tells the paper that the earthquake alone caused as much as $35 billion in insured property damage. That's before the cost of the tsunami are factored in, and the estimate takes into consideration damage to homes and businesses as well as agricultural losses.

Now, if the loss prediction is accurate, the cost will surpass all other natural disasters. That's including 2005's hurricane Katrina.

Well, from covering news to being in the middle of it, just ahead, we will hear from a reporter who found herself in the middle of the crisis. At one point, she watched part of a town being washed away.


CHURCH: And the estimate takes into consideration damage to homes and businesses as well as agricultural losses. Now, if the loss prediction is accurate, the cost will surpass all other natural disasters. That 'including 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Well, from covering news to being in the middle of it, just ahead we will hear from a reporter who found herself in the middle of the crisis. At one point she watched part of a town being washed away.


CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church. We do want to welcome our viewers in the United States and, of course, right across the world to our special coverage of the disaster in Japan and now we want to bring you the latest information that we have here.

Six people have been injured in a new explosion in northeastern Japan. That was a hydrogen blast occurring at the building that houses the number three reactor within the country's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Now officials say the number three reactor was not damaged in today's explosion. Japan's Kyoto news agency meantime reports that officials have now found 2,000 bodies at northern Japan's Miyagi Prefecture.

That was the hardest hit during Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami and those bodies are in addition, of course, to the current official death toll of more than 1,600. At least 1,500 people are reported missing although that number is expected to be much higher.

We've already reported one town that is missing 9,500 people. That is half of that town's population. So we are expecting to see that number -- that death toll possibly in the tens of thousands. That's what we're hearing from authorities there, but, of course, an all-out search for survivors is still ongoing.

Well, an NHK reporter was in the city of Ishinomaki in northeastern Japan when Friday's massive earthquake struck. Now, it is located in the hard-hit area of Miyagi Prefecture and the reporter spent the weekend in a shelter with local residents where she recounted her breathtaking experiences. Want to watch now and listen to her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over) (through translation): This is Ogatsu Bay of Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture. I was covering scallop growers from two days before the earthquake. The earthquake occurred suddenly. Immediately after we ended the interview, we were struck by an immense jolt.

We could not stay standing. Local people urged us to flee because tsunami will be coming and we rose to a higher place. We saw a rapid rise of the water levels at sea. And at 3:20 p.m., the tsunami started flooding into the town surpassing the breakwater. Houses are washed away.

This is really an immense impact. The whole houses, the whole town is moving. After the quake occurred, it only took 30 minutes before the whole town was engulfed. Together with the residents who were in the place where I was covering, footage, I spent my days evacuating.

We shared a small amount of food and we also barbecued scallop and oyster. This woman said that somebody showed her the tsunami was coming and it was really just an instant. Yes, it all took place in an instant and this man says we went inside the building and there were people who are washed away and my parents who were also washed away, I can't get in touch with them. We're very worried.

Even after dark, you could see the sound of tsunami gushing in. We spent two nights with the local residents. And on Sunday morning because the tsunami warning was downgraded to advisory, we went down from the hills together with local residents to the central part of the town.

This was a place where houses lined up before the tsunami. There's nothing here. It's all reduced to ruins and on top of the three-story building there was a bus that was washed ashore from tsunami. You could see the bus on the building.

On top of elementary school you could see a house that drifted. How could this place return to its original site? We really couldn't see how we really could restore the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): It cannot be helped. Those who survived must help each other. I lost everything in an instant. I could save my life. I'm alive but I don't know if it's good or bad. I don't know if it's good or bad that I survived.


CHURCH: Just a chilling story there from Ishinomaki, which is in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture. Our Anna Coren is in the same city and she found the hope of finding any survivors is giving way to a grim reality.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We just arrived on the outskirts of Ishinomaki, which is about an hour north of Sendai. We've teamed up with the Japanese military and they are going through this neighborhood to see if they can find any survivors.

(voice-over): But it quickly became apparent this wasn't a search and rescue operation. They were here to recover bodies. This neighborhood just 500 meters from the coast caught the full force of the devastating tsunami.

Every single home was damaged by the ten-meter wall of water, most beyond repair. This man scrambled on top of his house holding on to the roof for dear life.

(on camera): You are very lucky to be alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm lucky, very lucky.

COREN (voice-over): There were less than 30 minutes between the quake hitting and the monster wave devouring the coast. This is your house. This man managed to drive out just in time, but says his neighbors weren't so lucky.

(on camera): This is a scene of complete and utter devastation. The power of the tsunami, it just speaks for itself. The wall of water that roared through here within seconds collected everything in its path.

And from the rescue workers that we've spoken to, the bodies that they are retrieving are those of the elderly people who could not get out in time.

Now, for the survivors who are returning to see what is left of their home, when you stand here and witness the devastation, you have to wonder where these people start to rebuild their lives. Anna Coren, CNN, Ishinomaki, Japan.


CHURCH: Well, another coastal Japanese town has been entirely destroyed by the crush of the tsunami on Friday. The sea's surge raged through the town of Minamisanriku and as Paula Hancocks tells us when the water receded, the town was gone.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the tsunami alert sounds, everyone sprints for higher ground. Police abandon their cars, rescue workers rush people to safety. One man shouts at us, it's your life. Run. Everyone does including us running far higher than any tsunami could ever reach.

Not surprising when you see what the last tsunami did. This was the town of Minamisanriku. There's little left. Houses shops and offices reduced to mangled rubble. The loss of life here thought to be among the worst along the east coast of Japan.

(on camera): At this point officials have no idea how many people exactly died in just this one town. There were 18,000 residents here. Some of those residents that did survive the tsunami say that they ran when they heard the warning, but some of their neighbors didn't.

(voice-over): Chosen Takahashi was working as a civil servant in an office near the water. He says the earthquake knocked him off his feet then came the tsunami warning. He tells me most people ran away, but some had to leave the elderly or disabled behind on the second floor.

I think a lot of those left behind probably died. This woman says, "I saw the bottom of the sea when the tidal wave withdrew and houses and people were being washed away. I couldn't watch anymore."

This resident tells us there was to time to think about anything. The tsunami just came too quickly. Local reports say more than 40 people were found alive Sunday morning. Ambulances rushing the injured out of the disaster zone.

Elsewhere, the elderly are carried out to be evacuated by helicopter. This boat was carried more than 3 kilometers or 2 miles to the edge of town. The tsunami spared little in its path.

Memories of life before the wave litter the sodden ground. Residents start the seemingly impossible task of clearing up. This is still a search and rescue operation for now. Emergency teams know that window of survival is closing. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Minamisanriku, northeast Japan.


CHURCH: And a ground eye view of the quake as it first hit.


CHURCH (voice-over): The earthquake as air travelers experienced it trapped at the airport. That is coming up.



CHURCH: More on the quake in just a moment. But we do want to update you now on some of the other big stories we are watching and protests and violent clashes in Bahrain this weekend.


CHURCH (voice-over): You are looking now at video of what appears to be tear gas being used to disperse anti-government demonstrators. Now, CNN could not confirm the videos' authenticity at this time. Clashes also broke out at Bahrain University between protesters and supporters of the Gulf kingdom's rulers. A number of injuries are reported.

Well, Gadhafi's government has denounced the Arab League for recommending a no-fly zone be enforced over the country to protect its civilian population. The league says it would be up to the U.N. Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone. Libya's rebels suffer another apparent defeat as the Gadhafi government says it has retaken the opposition held town of Al Brega.


CHURCH: Now, the rebels admit they have been forced to retreat. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson got a government-led tour of another town also now under Gadhafi's control.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Driving east, mile upon mile of rocketed vehicles discarded weapons and ammunition littering the roadside. Evidence of a rapid rebel retreat outgunned and outsmarted by government forces advancing from the west. The first stop on this government organized trip Bin Jawad.

(on camera): This is Bin Jawad Police Station. It's not clear exactly what happened here, but it's the first signs of any real battle that we've seen. Those driving on the highway coming along from the west we've seen occasional checkpoints manned by two, three, four, sometimes a dozen or so soldiers or policemen and in the town we've seen most of the stores closed.

Some signs of looting. This police station here is the real first sign of battle we've come across. Inside is pretty smashed up, as well. The windows are here, the front reinforced glass all destroyed, blown out. Pretty blown up, shots being fired outside, being fired by soldiers there.

They've just been coming back from what appears to be the direction of the front line some sort of impromptu celebration just for the cameras here. Just a few days ago, this town was still in rebel hands. can get an idea of the ferocity of the battle for it. This looks like the tail fins from that Katyusha rocket buried in the front of this house here underneath, children's shoes.

(voice-over): Few houses hit, most by rockets fired from the west and advancing government forces. Driving on eastwards, another 40 miles, the sky fills with dense black smoke. As we get closer, unmistakably clear, an oil storage tank at the Ras Lanuf refinery burning out of control. Officials blaming it on rebels.

(on camera): Exactly how far government forces have advanced beyond the oil fire, exactly where the front line is remains unclear. But what is clear is that the government is on a roll. And the rebels are recoiling, retreating, it seems, almost as fast as they can. Nic Robertson, CNN, Ras Lanuf, Libya.


CHURCH: On Sunday in a nationwide televised funeral Israel's former chief rabbi called the killers of an Israeli family monsters. Police say a mother,, a father and their three children including that 4- month-old baby girl had their throats slit inside this home in the west bank territory. Israel's government called the slayings a terror attack and quickly approved construction of several hundred settlement homes in the west bank.

We do want to go over again what we know. The very latest from Japan and another blast has rocked an already badly damaged nuclear power plant. Six people are reported injured, but officials say no reactor was damaged.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary says there is a low chance of any major radioactive leak. The official death toll is now more than 1,600 but the Kyoto news agency reports another 2,000 bodies have been found in Miyagi Prefecture indicating that the toll will rise much higher.

Well, earthquakes topple buildings in seconds. Tsunamis erase entire towns in the time it takes to wash ashore. As Reggie Aqui tells us the Japan we knew last week is not the Japan we're seeing now.


REGGIE AQUI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You'll see that it's dominating our coverage right now, what's happening in Japan. If you go to this section over here under one of these links, you'll get to a map of Japan and when you get to that you'll see the various cities impacted where we have our correspondents and where our I-Reporters have been submitting their reports.

So let's go to Fukushima. If you click there, you'll see a video pops up obviously talking about the nuclear crisis that's looming there. You'll see a video report from our Stan Grant. Now, elsewhere on the site after you're done looking at that, want to show you what you're just talking about, a before and after scene of Fukushima.

Now, of course, we're talking about this power plant that's been the focus of our attention and much of the world's attention over the weekend and what I'm going to do is slide this before picture halfway through so you'll see to the left the before the tsunami picture, to the right what happened after the tsunami.

Now, of course, this plant is pretty symmetrical so there should be buildings right here. They are now gone after that earthquake and after the tsunami so just one of the stunning images that we're getting in. Let's go to another one here. This is from an area called Ishinomaki.

Now, we have one of our reporters there, Anna Coren, and she is saying as she's going around she sees troops going door to door looking for survivors and not finding many. And you can see why when I slide this again and I'll take it halfway through.

You can see all the houses here untouched until the earthquake and tsunami, flooded, underwater, many of those homes we can no longer even see. I'll push it all the way in so you can see the full scope of the damage in our after picture. When you get even closer to the photos on the ground, again, this is that same town I showed you of the before and after, Ishinomaki, you can see as they try to evacuate people out, some of the government help in boats.

And I'm going to leave you with this photo because I can't get it out of my mind. The most striking image we have seen in still images so far also again in Ishinomaki, one of these towns hardest hit by the earthquake and the tsunami, government troops in the background, this woman left to wonder what is going to happen to her life from now on. You can find this all out by going to Back to you.


CHURCH: Incredible images there and such an uncertain future for all of those people who survived that quake and tsunami so we do want to check the weather situation now.

Let's go to Jill Brown in the International Weather Center because, of course, the weather plays a major role in a rescue effort, rescue and recovery effort there at ground level.

JILL BROWN, INTERNATIONAL WEATHER CENTER: That's right, Rosemary, we have some bad weather coming in. Wanted to show you once again real quick the USGS site showing you when the most recent aftershocks have been. Each of these dots, the bigger the dot, the stronger the aftershock and most recent are in red. If I click on it there, that red will tell you that that one, 5.1 that was 20 kilometers, the deeper really the better that means it's weaker occurred in the past hour so red dot occurred in the past hour.

An orange dot means it occurred in the past day and a yellow in the past week and Rosemary, now we're just discussing so we're going in here how many have there been since that Friday afternoon, 8.9 and we think about 350 or more. So they keep getting these tremors, most of them have been in the 3 to 5, 4 to 5 range, but we could still see some stronger ones.

Here's some amazing fact. The earth's axis shifted 10 sent meters, Japan shifted 2.4 meters and this is similar to the massive earthquake in Chile where the earth's axis shifted eight centimeters and the days became slightly shorter with that. This earthquake, the earth's crust ruptured by 400 kilometers by 160.

Tectonic plates slipped more than 18 meters so those two plates came together and moved 18 meters, a huge move and the energy released is equivalent to 17,500 nuclear bombs so I guess that can tell you why we have the devastation that we have.

All right, now on to bad weather coming in. Right at the moment we have those warm southerly winds, it has been warm and dry in the past few days, but changes are on the way with cold northwest winds. It's going to start off as rain, we think.

Tomorrow and then it looks like it'll change over on Wednesday, rain and snow mix, Thursday, snow with a high of just 2 degrees. Doesn't look like much accumulation, but definitely some nasty weather coming in for the rescue efforts. Rosemary, back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks so much there, Jill, for keeping on that. Just incredible when you see all of those aftershocks.


CHURCH: And you know, as we were discussing, when you're talking about more than 300, it is terrifying for people on the ground who have no access to food and water and they don't have safe shelter so terrifying experience for people.

It's not over yet for those people on the ground just horrifying. And one way that we are finding out how survivors in Japan are coping is through I-Reports.

Scott Goldener is in the airport when the earthquake struck and turned his camera on himself and described the situation inside that terminal. Take a listen to this.


SCOTT GOLDENER, WITNESS: During the quake, I was just sitting down, waiting for my flight when the quake started.

I thought it would be a small quake like we had the last few days, but then it just kept going and going and got stronger and stronger, and that's when we knew it was a serious earthquake. We had quite a few strong aftershocks and then after about half hour, they evacuated us to the tarmac where we stayed for about a half hour, 45 minutes before bringing us back in.

Airport evacuation. Delta agents have been here all night long giving their people information, blanket, food, snacks, water. Other than that, the airport authorities had everything under control and kept everything pretty orderly. Everybody is working together and working with the situation that we have.


CHURCH: And we have learned that Scott Goldener has landed safely in the United States, important update there.

How serious is the radiation release that resulted from the explosion at Japan's nuclear plant in Fukushima? We will explore that next hour as we bring you all the details from the aftermath of Japan's earthquake and tsunami still a rapidly unfolding story.