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    Posted July 4, 2011 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Recovery in Japan: After the earthquake

    kaseykla and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Earthquake strikes Japan

    Last week in Sendai, Japan...


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     kaseykla says, 'I think I must have held my head in my hands at least as much as I held my camera. There were so many items in the mud that made it all real, made it relatable on a human level. For instance, a fork, or a shoe, or a picture. This could have happened anywhere. It was heartbreaking.'
    - Cortnee H, CNN iReport producer

    The tsunami damage is catastrophic.  Once a neighborhood, it now appears to be a nature-driven war zone.  Remnants of homes are scattered throughout the mud. Occasionally a lone home would stand, its windows shattered and walls ripped away.  Muddied water lines almost reaching to the ceiling, and yet somehow a picture would remain on the wall.  The landscape consists of mud saturated with photographs, cell phones, computers, dishes, shoes, and brightly colored toys.  The town is desolate and deafly silent.  The empty paved roads are the only clear path that reminds you this was once a neighborhood.  As you get farther from the ocean, homes are still relatively intact.  However, inside the homes it is a mirror image of the destruction along the coast.  They are overwhelmed by mounds of mud and debris.  A single playing card is partially submerged in the mud, the exposed area is crisp and beautifully white.  A child's toy lies broken in pieces nearby.  The road is littered with exposed wires from every light post as well as heaps of mangled and twisted metal.  Cars and trucks are crumpled and crushed.  Boats and ships settled in fields and near roadways.  To the east, the ground is completely flattened with the exception of a steel and concrete mountain protruding into the skyline.  It is the wreckage and the first evidence I find of the clean up effort.  Traveling in the direction of the workers, a row of excavator and scraper tractors move...It is the first sign of life I see.  Workers, roughly 40 of them, are in masks and protective gear.  Some are operating the machinery while others carry a broom and dust pan.  Months after the tsunami, a tremendous amount of recovery, work, rebuilding, and healing is still to be done.

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