Thursday, March 17, 2011

Touching reunion videos after Japan disaster

There's not much good news in the wake of last week's devastating 9.0 earthquake in Japan. So far, the disaster may have left as many as 10,000 dead and half a million homeless, as well as sparking a nuclear crisis that is still unfolding. But amid the tragedy, some tsunami and earthquake victims have--against the odds--reunited with their loved ones and shared their incredible tales of survival.

Akiko Kosaka, who was studying English in California, had all but given up hope of hearing that her family had survived in the coastal village of Minami Sanriku. Nearly half the town's inhabitants are missing or feared dead.

After a friend tipped her off, Kosaka found a YouTube video of local news coverage that shows her older sister wearing a hard hat and calling out to the cameras to let her little sister in America know that the family has survived, Kosaka told CNN. The video shows that the houses next to her family home have been destroyed, making the family's survival all the more miraculous. You can watch her story, and other moving reunion vidoes, below.

CNN has translated NHK video showing a slew of reunions three days after the quake first hit. One man speaks to his wife over the phone and hears for the first time that she has survived. Another man searches for the employees in his now-destroyed sake factory, and finally reuintes with one.

"I didn't think they survived," she told CNN. "I cried for three days--Friday, Saturday, Sunday." Kosaka is now trying to let them know she's received their message through a video she uploaded.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has documented an elderly couple's journey to a small coastal town devastated by the tsunami to see if they could find their daughter and three grandchildren living there. You can watch their reunion below:

The photo, below, shows a Japanese soldier right after he discovered a four-month-old baby in the rubble in the village of Ishinomaki. The soldiers somehow managed to locate the baby's father, who thought his baby had washed away with the tsunami's waves, and reunite them. "Her discovery has put a new energy into the search," a civil defence official told The Daily Mail. "We will listen, look and dig with even more diligence after this."

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