Japan tsunami virtually erases Natori off map

Outside the Japanese city of Sendai, along the coast, many smaller towns and villages exist now in name alone. Among them is Natori. Once a thriving farming town, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy shows us it's been turned into a wasteland.

More than three days now since the earthquake and the tsunami that roared through Natori City, the homes are still smoldering and little is left of a town that was once home to about 74,000 people, many of them farmers. Now it's basically deserted.

Emergency vehicles are the only traffic on the roads and one man is one of the only people left in town. Everyone else is gone because so are their homes. What used to be a neighborhood is now simply a debris field.

"These were houses and now they are gone," said the man. "Gone. Nothing."

Complete coverage: Disaster in Japan

Our driver, Ikuo Hirai, takes us down the same street he used travel when he drove his family to the beach. He can't believe what's happened.

"Tsunami," said Hirai.

What happened when it came through?

"They cannot run away, escape," said Hirai.

The wave essentially erased Natori off the map. Hundreds of people are missing, many feared dead. The military is searching the rubble for those who were swept away.

Just down the road in Natori, soldiers got word a little while ago that a body was somewhere here in the wreckage, one of the missing people. They found that person and are now taking the body to the city's morgue.

"Very sad," said Hirai.

Hirai says he believes the city can rebuild, even if it means starting from the ground up.

Where have all the people in the town gone?

Many have gone to evacuation centers or to live with their families. Then there are the missing. It will be days and months before we know how many of them have died.

  • Ben Tracy

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