SOMA, Japan — Rescuers pulled a 70-year-old woman from her toppled home Tuesday, four days after Japan's massive tsunami struck.
The rescues of Sai Abe and a younger man pulled from rubble elsewhere were rare good news following Friday's disaster that killed at least 2,700 people and left thousands missing.
Abe's son said he had tried to save his mother but could not get her to flee her home in the port town of Otsuchi. His relief at her rescue, he said, was tempered by the fact that his father is still missing.
"I couldn't lift her up, and she couldn't escape because her legs are bad," Hiromi Abe said on national television. "My feelings are complicated, because I haven't found my father."Video: At least 15,000 people missing in Japan
The elderly woman was suffering from hypothermia and was sent to a hospital, but appeared to have no life-threatening injuries, said Yuko Kotani, a spokesman for Osaka fire department.
Emergency workers have so far rescued 15,000 people and about 550,000 had been evacuated by Monday to about 2,600 shelters in six prefectures, Kyodo news service said.
Snow likely overnight
Another survivor, described as being in his 20s, was shown on television being pulled from a building further down the coast in the city of Ishimaki after rescue workers heard him calling for help.
Conditions for those still alive in the rubble worsened as a cold front arrived Tuesday, further pushing down temperatures. Snow is forecast over the next few days.
With homes leveled, towns washed away and jobs gone, many were wondering if they stay and rebuild.
"We survived, but what are we supposed to do from here?" said Sachiko Sugawara, 63, now living at one of the shelters.
Bodies were stacking up at morgues and the chronically ill were running out of medicine.
"People are exhausted both physically and mentally," said Yasunobu Sasaki, the principal of a school converted into a shelter in Rikuzentakata, a nearly flattened village of 24,500 people in far-northern Iwate prefecture.
Local officials have lost contact with about 30,000 people, according to a survey by Kyodo, raising concerns of a dramatic increase in the number of dead as authorities grapple with Japan's biggest emergency since World War Two.
Roads and rail, power and ports have been crippled across much of the northeast of Japan's main island Honshu, hampering relief efforts. The government has mobilized 100,000 soldiers and more than 100 countries have offered assistance.Story: Millions in Japanese cold struggle without electricity, heat
Hundreds of foreign rescue workers are assisting quake and tsunami victims but the United Nations does not plan to mount a bigger relief operation unless requested, U.N. aid officials said on Monday.
Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world's third-largest economy.
Some 70 countries have offered assistance in an outpouring of solidarity with Japan, with help coming not only from allies like the United States but also countries with more strained relations like China, and even from the Afghan city of Kandahar.Video: Japan humanitarian efforts mount
"We have offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed, as America will stand with Japan as they recover and rebuild," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
He said two U.S. urban search-and-rescue teams, with 144 staff and 12 dogs, had begun work at first light on Monday looking for people trapped in the rubble.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.