Nightly News   |  March 16, 2011

Storms deter grim search for survivors

With more than 4,000 dead and thousands more missing in northern Japan, hopes for finding additional survivors are dimming as bad weather makes the search even more difficult. ITN's Angus Walker reports.

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

>>> we have more now on the humanitarian crisis. since friday's earthquake and tsunami, with more than 4,000 dead now and thousands more missing, hope is dimming that additional survivors can be found. and the search for them has become more difficult, because the weather in northern japan has deteriorated. as you'll see, there have been freak snowstorms in small towns, like miako, japan , where angus walker, of our british partner, itv, meets some of the people there trying to help.

>> reporter: miyako, a fishing port where the harbor offered no sanctuary. a ferry is now marooned in the middle of town. you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a war zone . instead it's a place where soldiers are battling to find victims of nature's forces. more than a thousand are missing. it took the japanese army three days to get to miyako. they're still here, still searching for bodies, and the weather conditions are getting worse. this town can only be reached by mountainous roads.

>> reporter: the sergeant tells me they have pulled ten people out alive since monday. if they only find one more, it will all still be worth it. this was the moment the tsunami smashed through miyako's defenses. a boat is slammed into a bridge. the waters have receded, exposing the destruction in their wake. now, you get a real sense of the terrifying scale of this disaster. so much water poured over the sea wall , that it hit the bottom of the bridge, which must be around 30 feet above me. these are the lists of the living. more than 5,000 in emergency shelters. and this woman is one of japan 's countless good samaritans. she's come here hoping to find people she doesn't know on behalf of people she's never met.

>> it is just horrible. i want to think it is nightmare what happened in my hometown, but i can't say anything.

>> reporter: and all along japan 's northeastern coast, the nightmare never seems to end. angus walker for nbc news, miyako.