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March 11,2011 the world was shocked when the Japan attacked by an earthquake followed by a massive tsunami.
MIYAKO, Japan (AFP) - Japan's quake and tsunami disaster has taken an especially harsh toll on the elderly, who have seen their lives of peaceful retirement shattered into a nightmare of homeless desolation.
Bewildered, bereft and often cut off from any family support, they have suffered more than most from the terrible deprivation wrought by the wall of water that engulfed the coast of northeast Japan a week ago.
Like many towns and villages in the region, the quiet port of Miyako had a large elderly population as, over the years, an increasing number of younger people had moved elsewhere in search of work.
Helpless in the face of the speed and destructive power of the tsunami, they figure highly in the ever-growing estimates of the dead and missing.
"Many old people tried to run away, but I think a lot of them died," said Kohe Katzuyama, a long-time Miyako resident in his late sixties.
For many like Katzuyama, survival has been a bitter blessing.
Those who made it to the government shelters have struggled in the harsh conditions, with little or no power or water, and a sudden cold snap that saw the region swept by snowstorms and plummeting temperatures.
For those on prescription medicines, the chances of getting the treatment they need have ranged from slim to non-existent, throwing up yet another obstacle to their efforts to keep going until the...