Leaders should always live their lives with the end in mind. The Daily Mail has chronicled some stories of the survivors of this past weekend’s tragic events in Japan. The great lesson to me was the commonality of each story is that when faced with death, it was their family that was most important.
“Hiromitsu Shinkawa was found floating nearly ten miles out at sea on the roof of his house, two days after the quake struck. As the wave approached his home city of Minamisoma on Friday, the 60-year-old and his wife made the fateful decision to return home to collect belongings. Minutes later Mr Shinkawa was being dragged out to sea in swirling currents.
He was eventually spotted by a navy vessel searching for victims, clinging to the wreckage with one hand and waving a makeshift red flag with the other. After being hauled on to the rescue boat, Mr Shinkawa burst into tears when he was told that his wife was still missing. ‘No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me,’ he said. ‘I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life.’”
Harumi Watanabe recounted gripping her elderly parents’ hands as the tsunami crashed through the windows of their family home. Her parents could not hold on however and screamed ‘I can’t breathe’ before they were dragged under water.
What made Miss Watanabe’s story all the worse was that she drove home after hearing warnings of the coming tsunami. ‘But there wasn’t time to save them. They were old and too weak to walk.”
Miss Watanabe then entered into a struggle for her own life. “I stood on the furniture, but the water came up to my neck. There was only a narrow band of air below the ceiling. I thought I would die.”
Yuko Abe tearfully says, “I am looking for my parents and my older brother. I also cannot tell my siblings who live away from here that I am safe, as mobile phones and telephones are not working.”
www.mirror.co.uk tells the story of 70 year-old Sai Abe rescued in Otsuchi, a city destroyed by the tsunami.
“Stunned rescuers found her huddled inside the remains of her home, which had been washed away by a wall of water. For 92 agonising hours she lay inside the ruined property, uncertain if anyone would hear her cries for help. She was suffering from hypothermia but was conscious and officials said last night that she was stable.
Her son, Hiromi Abe, said he had tried desperately to save her in the immediate aftermath of the quake. He said: “I couldn’t lift her up and she couldn’t escape because her legs are bad. I’m happy, but not completely. We were with my father and he’s still missing.”
We are all still praying for more stories of survivors to be found and rescued.
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