Sunderland families await return of loved ones from Japan earthquake

Debris covers Otsuchicho town, northern Japan.
Debris covers Otsuchicho town, northern Japan.
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WORRIED Wearside families are today still waiting to hear just when their loved ones will return home from Japan.

As revealed in the Echo, 45 Nissan workers were in the country when the earthquake struck.

They are said to be safe, but no more information has been released.

It also remains unclear if the Sunderland plant will be affected by the earthquake and tsunami devastation in Japan.

Nissan has closed all production facilities in its home country, but said it expected the Global Headquarters, Technical Centre and Advanced Technology Centre would be operational.

The car giant added: “No decision has been made as we are continuing to assess the damage to our facilities and equipment, as well as discussing parts delivery with our suppliers.”

The firm has been doing its bit to help victims of the disaster.

In response to a request from Yokohama City, Nissan opened its Global Headquarters facilities to the public and provided shelter for 150 people, providing them with blankets and water.

Rescue workers used chain saws and pickaxes today to dig out bodies in Japan’s devastated coastal towns, amid a mounting humanitarian, nuclear and economic crisis in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed thousands.

Millions of people spent a third night without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures along the devastated north eastern coast.

The containment building of a second nuclear reactor exploded because of hydrogen build-up, while the stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries, including names such as Toyota and Honda.

More than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in Friday’s double-headed tragedy, which caused unimaginable deprivation for people of this industrialised country that has not seen such hardships since the Second World War.

“People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming,” said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the three hardest hit.

There has been major loss of power because of damage to at least three nuclear reactors, two of them at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

Operators dumped seawater into the two reactors in a last-ditch attempt to cool their super-heated containers. Today, the containment building of the second reactor exploded, just as the first one had on Saturday.