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March 17, 2011

Japan: Hopes fade for finding more survivors

As officials desperately tried to prevent disaster at a damaged nuclear facility, hopes faded for finding survivors amid the rubble as snow and cold blanketed the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan. Residents were allowed back into damaged areas for the first time since the disaster to inspect what might be left of their homes. And flights out of Japan were full as foreign nationals and others left the country. The Big Picture continues special daily coverage of the disaster through tomorrow, with later updates anticipated as events merit. -- Lane Turner (27 photos total)

Sixty-six-year-old Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka cries in front of his collapsed house with his son still missing, possibly buried in the rubble, at Onagawa town in Miyagi prefecture on March 17. The official number of dead and missing after a devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast is approaching 15,000, police said. (Yomiuri Shimbun/AFP/Getty Images)

A sign showing the tsunami evacuation route sits partly covered by debris in the city of Kesennuma, in Miyagi prefecture on March 17. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images) #

A muddied family photograph sits in an apartment block on March 17 in Kensennuma. Residents were allowed back to their homes today and began the massive cleanup operation. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

Personal photos sit in the rubble of a house March 17 in Minamisanriku. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

A child's photograph sits on the underside of a mattress March 17 in Kensennuma. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

A personal photo sits in the rubble of a house March 17 in Minamisanriku. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

Mitsuyo Murakami sifts through the rubble outside her apartment on March 17 in Kensennuma. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

A woman takes care of a dog at an evacuation center for pets and their owners near an area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma March 17. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) #

Elderly women wait for rice to be given out at an evacuation center on March 17 in Kensennuma. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

A couple eats rice and vegetable handouts at an evacuation center on March 17 in Kensennuma. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

An elderly Japanese tsunami survivor lies in a bed as a woman sorts medicine tablets at a shelter for earthquake victims in Kesennuma on March 17. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

Survivors check a message board at a shelter for earthquake victims in Kesennuma on March 17. Half a million evacuees struggled to stay warm as rescuers said their efforts to help the devastated population were at risk, almost a week after the 9.0 magnitude quake and massive tsunami hit. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A picture released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) shows elderly people at the high school evacuation center in Ostuchi on March 14. (HO/AFP/Getty Images) #

People check secondhand clothes at a shelter for earthquake survivors at Minamisanriku city in Miyagi Prefecture on March 17. (Yomiuri Shimbun/AFP/Getty Images) #

People line up for noodles and soup at an evacuation center on March 17 in Kensennuma. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

People fill containers at a water distribution point in Ofunato on March 16. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) #

A stuffed toy is seen amidst rubble in Kesennuma March 17. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) #

An emergency worker cycles past debris in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture March 17. (Aly Song/Reuters) #

A family walk through the tsunami and earthquake damage under snowfall in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture on March 17. Thick snow covered the wreckage littering quake-hit Japan, all but extinguishing hopes of finding anyone alive in the debris. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Rescue workers salute next to a body they retrieved from the rubble in Rikuzentakat March 17. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters) #

A Japanese Self Defense Force soldier prays before removing the body of a tsunami victim found in the debris in the town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture on March 17. (Takashi Noguchi/AFP) #

A Japanese Self Defense Force soldier wades through water as he checks for bodies in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 17. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP) #

A dog receives a radiation exposure scanning in Koriyama March 17. (Koichi Nakamura/Yomiuri Shimbun/AP) #

Vehicle headlamps illuminated a disaster area in Yamada town in Iwate prefecture on March 16. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A couple cross a large intersection in front of blacked out light displays in Tokyo's Ginza district March 17. In the famous shopping mecca - and elsewhere in the nation's capital - public apprehension over a brewing nuclear disaster is draining the streets and stores of the crowds that normally define this dynamic, densely packed city. (Gregory Bull/AP) #

Passengers sleep on the floor as they wait for their flight at Narita airport, east of Tokyo March 17. Public trust in the Japanese government faces its biggest test since World War Two over the handling of the nation's nuclear crisis. (Issei Kato/Reuters) #

A couple hugs each other before one of the pair will board a flight at Narita international Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo March 17. (Issei Kato/Reuters) #


 
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