Nightly News   |  March 15, 2011

Survivor: 'The next generation will build us back'

Japanese evacuees exhibit extraordinary resilience as they return to their tsunami-ravaged homes for the first time. NBC's Ann Curry reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we have a final story tonight about resilience and strength. through these stories that have come out of this tragedy in japan , americans are learning a lot about the japanese people and their character. and so our final report tonight comes from nbc's ann curry .

>> reporter: home from the evacuation center for the first time today. tatso and his wife were shocked so much was ruined, first by the earthquake. and then by five feet of water. but they didn't wait for outside help. she says everyone is the same fp fp. he adds, i want to get this work over so i can help others. five days into this disaster, a spirit of self-ref lie answer is evident everywhere. helping augment the short water supply , neighbors boil snow they trucked down from nearby mountains. they make chop sticks by hand using bamboo they gather themselves, making even cups and bowls. for people who have lost everything, at this evacuation center -- what do you not have enough of to take care of these people? they need food, heat and doctors. balls of rice are brought in by local women. and the elderly who run out of medicines are closely watched over and kept warm. rarely has a nation so powerful been this vulnerable. [ sobbing ]

>> reporter: having lost so much, japan appears as broken as its landscape. but it is not. this couple says we are old, but we expect the next generation will build us back even better. ann curry , nbc news in japan .