Japan Quake Aftermath Remains Hellish: Aftershocks Expected, Towns Disappear, Volcano Erupts

A car perched precariously on the roof of a small hut. Streets packed curb to rooftop with debris. An unnamed victim's hand, reaching out from the mud.

These are but a few of the harrowing pictures now streaming out of Japan some four days after the worst earthquake that nation has seen in recorded history. The missing, when they turn up, are overwhelming found dead, each a victim of fire or flood or collapsing earth. In one small northeastern town called Minami Sanriku, 9,500 people—roughly half the town—are missing.

The sad thing is the devastation does not appear to be letting up any time soon. The northern nuclear plants are still on high alert; a 7.5 magnitude aftershock is predicted in the next 72 hours; and I just read word of an eruption at a once dormant volcano. There's no word on any conneciton between the eruption and the earthquake, but does it really matter? Japan is besieged today on all sides by a merciless mother nature. The "why's" can wait for later—there is work, donation and relief to be done.

A ship sits grounded in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture on March 12, 2011. (REUTERS/YOMIURI)

A small car sits on a destroyed building within a devastated neighbourhood in Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011 (AP, David Guttenfelder)

Hitachi City: Cares that were first swept together into a smashed group then caught fire (Reuters, Yomiuri)

An abandoned car, half submerged on what was one a crossroad in Sendai (Reuters, Jo Yong-Hak)

Shipping containers were tossed around like a child's building blocks in Sendai (AP, Itsuo Inouye)

A victim's hand, seen in Rikuzentakata (Reuters, Toru Hanal)

The tsuami is captured in this image as it sweeps over Miyako City. This photo was taken March 11 (AP, Mainichi Shimbun)

Boats became cars and litter the streets and lots of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture (AP, The Yomiuri Shimbum, Miho Iketani) [In Focus]

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