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Quake Tsunami Disaster; Aftershocks Still a Danger; Nuclear Meltdown Threat
Aired March 13, 2011 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
This hour, more incredible new images coming out of Japan and we begin with dramatic video from right in the middle of the tsunami as it swept through the streets of Sendai, the city closest to the earthquake epicenter. This video almost defies belief, and we're going to take a moment and just let you hear it and let it play just as it was covered on the news in Japan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO OF TSUNAMI IN SENDAI, JAPAN)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Again, unbelievable video, much of it new just coming in to CNN. This is how it all played out on Japanese television. We have been monitoring it and watching the images of destruction, also the images of rescues and people who are walking around shell-shocked because of what happened.
Large craters have opened up in the ground in many places in Japan. This is a typical scene along where this tsunami and earthquake happened.
That there have been fires; we have seen fires at plants. And also we know about what happened at the nuclear facility where there was an explosion and then a field of debris and devastation.
We are told that many of these fields that you're seeing were neighborhoods at one point, but everything collapsed. Impossible, pretty much, to get around parts of Japan right now because the streets are covered in muck and in mud.
Again, the devastation is unbelievable. We see train cars, buildings, trucks, buses on top of roofs and, of course, the muck that they're going have to clean up.
And also happening as we speak rescues from the rubble and that muck that we showed you. I want you to look now as a group of elderly people are rescued from a car after being trapped for days.
Again, this is how the drama unfolded on Japanese television. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Suddenly there was activity on the roof. Someone shouts, "There is still another person." They ask self-defense force troops to help. There were survivors in the car.
An elderly person had been stuck in this car. The person was rescued safely minutes later. It turned out there were three elderly people. The car had been covered in mud and debris, and they could not get out. And for 20 hours they were trapped in the car.
This woman says that she was washed away by the waves and that she was afraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And many, many of similar events were happening all over Japan. The death toll has risen now to nearly 1,600 people. Nearly 1,500 others are now listed as missing and more than 1,900 are injured.
The quake damaged the nuclear reactors have Japan's population even more on edge. Crews are using seawater to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant, a last-ditch move to prevent further meltdown.
Officials are assuming that two of the reactors went through a partial meltdown. Experts say the risk of massive radiation exposure is low, at least for now. More than 200,000 people have evacuated that area.
About two and a half million households still without power, the country's electric power company is conducting rolling power outages in three-hour intervals to keep up with the demand.
Japan's Foreign Ministry says 69 governments are offering help. The U.S. has sent warships, supplies, search-and-rescue teams and two experts on nuclear reactors. And if there aren't enough problems there, now there is a volcano to worry about. It erupted today on an island in the southwest part of Japan sending a huge plume of smoke and ash into the air. It's almost 1,000 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake and it is not clear whether the two are connected.
And throughout most of this broadcast we're going to keep Japanese television up in the corner of your screen for you because the images are coming out and they are coming out fast. And they are unforgettable.
It is now just after 8:00 in the morning in Japan, the people in the devastated region taking on a new day in the face of a horrific tragedy.
So let's get to the city that's closest to the epicenter of this earthquake, that's Sendai. It was also ground zero for the incredible tsunami that followed.
Our Martin Savidge toured Sendai today and saw the devastation up close. Martin joins us now. Martin, how are people dealing with this? What is the mood like where you are?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's a Monday morning here. Sendai is a very big city, huge city; actually the biggest one that was affected as the result of the natural disaster that struck on Friday.
So we're now almost four days after this disaster, and -- and people are very much in a state of shock and disbelief. I mean they are still wandering around, dazed.
Many are trying to stick to their normal routine, which is very human, and you find that -- that people are actually in a way of trying to cope are still trying to get around, still trying to work where they used to work, still trying to check on the neighbors, still trying to meet up with friends.
A lot of people are driving but the roads here as you've already pointed out it's very difficult to get by. Some of them literally have been torn up in upheaval as a result of the movement of the earth. Others have been washed out and then still more just blocked by tons and tons of debris of vehicles and even buildings in some cases. Many people have opted for old-fashioned ways of getting around, simply on foot -- you see a lot of people walking, or by bicycle because there is no best way to try to get through amidst the maze of what you find.
There's no power down here so at night time extremely difficult to navigate once the sun goes down. Fires are still burning in this community here. Two major fires, one had been an oil refinery. However, those fires are beginning to burn themselves out. They are not working on trying to extinguish those fires mainly because they've got much more important things to deal with right now.
But the people themselves seem to be coping well, but I have to tell you, they're still very much in a state of shock. And -- and even the witnesses like ourselves who have come in and looked as you pointed out with the video, you can't believe it.
SAVIDGE: And every time you look somewhere else, even more mesmerizing and your mind can't take it all in.
LEMON: Yes. And Martin, in comparison to the size of this catastrophe, is there enough aid, is there enough help, do you think there are enough rescue people? I'm sure they could use more.
SAVIDGE: Right. Absolutely they could use more. I mean, it -- again, the scale of this is so large that it's not like every street that you turn down, you see rescue crews, fire teams, emergency search teams, dog teams going at it. There just is too large an area to be searched.
This is a very industrialized area down by the water front where we are, which is where as I say the tsunami came rushing in, in some cases up to six miles inland. Most of the victims that have been found here have been found dead unfortunately and they have been found trapped in their vehicles. So the focus not specifically in this immediate area, they've gone into neighborhoods and they've gone into the areas that weren't so heavily hit by the tidal wave and the reason for this is it is fairly pragmatic.
They know that if people had been trapped when the water came in, their chances of survival are extremely low. Not impossible but just very low. You have to go with the odds. And the odd are there may be people still alive trapped in buildings that were away from the waterfront and that's where a lot of the efforts have been focused at this particular time. Trying to listen, trying to triangulate telephone calls. There are many families who say that they are hearing, communicating with people who are trapped but they -- they can't direct officials to get to them. There are a lot of heartbreaking stories, I can tell you Don.
LEMON: Martin Savidge, stand by. And Martin in Sendai, Japan. We appreciate it.
In the meantime, hundreds of aftershocks continued to rock Japan and dozens have measured more than Magnitude 6. We'll get to that. Our Jacqui Jeras will look at the seismic activity ahead.
But first we continue to hear amazing stories of survival, like this man. He and his wife were swept away in the tsunami. She did not make it. He survived by holding onto to a piece of roof.
Live now, a broadcast, Japanese television you're looking at NHK. They are doing a report there. And that is how they are broadcasting this tragedy, live. Let's listen in as we go to break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Power companies say it would talk sometime to resume service. At least 1.4 million households have no water. The Health and Welfare Ministry has dispatched nearly 100 vehicles to supply drinking water to residents. A truck --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in 1,140 years ago there was sand found from one to three kilometers inland on the Sendai plains from the coast. And so --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You're looking at a broadcast -- live broadcast from NHK. They are reporting, of course, on the devastation that is happening in Japan, the rescues, the clean-up, and really the mess that has made -- that has been made so much in many cities in Japan. So listen, we're going to continue to watch that and keep that up in a box for you as it warrants so that we can look at the latest pictures coming out, because there's so much happening at once. It's coming in so quickly and we want to get the information and the images to you as quickly as possible.
You know, the last time Japan experienced an earthquake like this, 8.9 magnitude monster was nearly 90 years ago. The great Kanto quake was Japan's deadliest. The 7.9 quake hit in 1923 killing more than 140,000 people. The next deadliest was 1995, the Kobe quake, with a 7.2 magnitude and 6,400 died in that quake. And the people who survived Japan's worst ever earthquake still worry about aftershocks.
And we have asked our Jacqui Jeras to help us understand this typical pattern of seismic activity as they've gotten to be really unnerving right now.
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, can you imagine after going through such a horrible devastating event, to be reminded of this almost constantly. In fact, today alone there are more than 60 aftershocks and there literally have been hundreds of them since the first initial big quake. And this map shows you all of the aftershocks that have just happened in the last couple of hours and they've been pretty significant as well.
Generally aftershocks will occur for days, for weeks, sometimes even months or a year or more after the initial one. And they tend to be a little bit weaker. We had some pretty powerful ones yesterday, 6.0 to 7.0.
But today take a look at this list from the USGS Web site and we'll just go down it. And there you can see 4.9, 5.1, 4.9, 5.2; so all in the 4s and 5s, quite a range. And this goes on and on and on and on and on, just to give you an idea how many aftershocks we've been seeing in this area.
Now, we'll go ahead and show you this Google Earth Map and you can see -- you know, this is a very active zone. This is along the Pacific Plate. A lot of seismic activity happens here on a regular basis but when a big powerful quake occurs -- I was trying to think of a good analogy, Don. To kind of help you understand what happens.
You know you have the first big pop that happens and then, you know, things don't just stay into place and not hold. It kind of takes a little while for things to settle and move a little, you know. If you think of a pile of oranges, maybe at the grocery, you know, how you take one orange out of there and everything kind of falls down. You start walking away and like five seconds later, another orange drops down. You're like, oh, I thought it was done. It's sort of like that. So it's a delayed reaction that continues to happen and the earth continues to move.
So this is something they'll be dealing with in the upcoming weeks, months and maybe a year or so. And it's a little bit of a concern for some of the buildings still that might be able to compromise, that people who are trapped under rubble, that could shift things around a little bit.
LEMON: Jacqui Jeras, always appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.
People in Japan are encountering everything from unbelievable devastation to loss of life and long lines for basic needs like water and food.
Our Reggie Aqui is here to show us much, much more. Reggie what do you have for us?
REGGIE AQUI, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Ok. Do you see this done. This is what we have been mostly getting in --
LEMON: Empty --
AQUI: -- from our iReporters, yes. Absolutely empty shelves, no food, no water. And none of the basic things that we don't think of until we're in an emergency like blankets, flashlights that you'll need when you don't have power; as you have been talking about Don. Even areas in Tokyo that didn't receive the worst of the damage, they're getting these rolling power outages.
I actually had a chance to talk to a woman named Sarah Feinerman. And she is in Japan actually teaching English. She's in her early 20s and she sent in some photos that I want to show you right now.
And what you're going to see in these photos are -- there you see the fissure in the street there, in front of the police station where she said there were just two lonely police officers inside.
Not lonely, but long lines waiting for water that you could see there. And there you can see again; plenty of other supplies on the right- hand side that no one needs right now but nothing on the left where the food usually is.
Let's hear from Sarah right now. I asked her what it was like waiting for all that water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH FEINERMAN, TEACHES ENGLISH IN JAPAN: This looks a lot worse than it is. I showed up at about 4:00 p.m. and that was -- the picture I got was about where the end of the line was. And they said they were going to be there providing water from the trucks until 10:00 p.m. And so I went back and got my car to drive over because I thought, oh, no, it's going to take forever. I brought four jugs with me and I was actually in and out in under a half an hour. It was extremely efficient.
AQUI: Wow. Ok. So, this is the only way right now that you're able to get fresh water is to stay in these lines at these various city halls or around the towns (INAUDIBLE) in the rural area outside of Tokyo? FEINERMAN: Exactly. That's what we got.
AQUI: And how much are you allowed to get at a time? Is it enough to survive for the next day or so?
FEINERMAN: I thought there would be a limit so I only brought four because I didn't want to be greedy because I live alone. People there were people behind me that had huge buckets and trash cans and things. There were no questions asked to fill up your bucket. So it's just whatever you want to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AQUI: All right, Don. So Sarah was surprised that she could actually get as much water as she needed at the time. I was surprised at her demeanor. She was awfully upbeat especially given how early in the morning I was talking to her. And she said that people are really taking care of each other as much as they can.
This was perhaps surprising. And I'll leave it on this note because although this is very serious and I'm not trying to make light of what's happening. Our iReporters even in the midst of the devastation and all the problems of Japan, one of them sent us this.
Couldn't find water, couldn't find food. What do they find, Don? Do you recognize that?
LEMON: Yes, it's liquor, alcohol.
AQUI: It's liquor.
AQUI: Plenty of liquor in Japan right now. There's no shortage of that and they'll probably be needing that once things get a little bit back to normal.
LEMON: And probably at this point they're dealing with so much, sobriety is very important.
AQUI: Yes, no kidding.
LEMON: That's probably the least of their concerns right now.
LEMON: Reggie, thank you very much. We appreciate your reporting.
And we've given you the latest news from Japan.
Now, here's what you need to know if you want to help the victims. They may be without power, missing loved ones, unable to find food and water or possibly all three and much, much more, even more than that.
So if you go to cnn.com/impact, you'll find a list of organizations giving aid. Concerns mount about a possible meltdown at one of Japan's nuclear plants and that is of huge concern. Straight ahead we take you back to Japan for the latest on that situation.
But first we want to leave you with -- before we go to break, our affiliate, NHK in Japan as they are reporting this news live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The earthquake and tsunami forced the company's plant in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures to suspend their production. The company says it has still not confirmed the extent of the damage in its three factories, so it's other factories will follow suit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, to our continuing coverage.
In the wake of Friday's earthquake and tsunami, Japan is in a desperate race against time to stop more radiation from flowing out of the damaged nuclear power plants.
The biggest concern right now: a nuclear facility in Fukushima in quake-ravaged northeast where crews are flooding the reactors with cooling seawater. The tensions eased slightly with reports that radiation levels at another plant are now normal.
Let's go straight now to Tokyo and Stan Grant. He is monitoring the fast-moving developments for us -- Stan.
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. As you said, most of the focus has been around the Daiichi plant in Fukushima, numbers 1 and 2 reactors. Now, what the officials are doing is that they're assuming that worst and that is, that there is a potential for a meltdown or a likely possibility of a meltdown of in the number 1 reactor and a possibility, but still a possibility of a meltdown in reactor number 3. That's their assumption. So they're working on that.
And as you said, they're pumping more seawater into that reactor. It's not the best solution but it's the only solution they had given they don't have access to other water and that's in an attempt to try to cool the reactor.
Strangely enough though, officials are saying that despite pumping more water in, the levels are staying about the same which would indicate the reactors are still being exposed and still overheating. Now, what they're hoping is that even if there is some damage to the reactor itself, some disintegration, that there is enough containment around it to stop any of the radioactive material getting into the atmosphere.
That being said some radiation has been detected. Mostly that has come from steam that is being released from the reactor. This is a venting process to try to release some of the pressure. But officials have gone to great pains to reassure people that those levels are not high enough to be harmful. There is though an exclusion zone of about 12 or 13 around the reactor and about 200,000 people have been evacuated. Many more than 100,000 people have come in contact with radiation and have been checked out to the extent of that contact.
LEMON: Good reporting, Stan Grant. We're glad to have you in Tokyo. We'll check back with you. Appreciate it.
Up next we continue to investigate the threat of a meltdown with a nuclear engineer. But before we go to break we leave you with a live broadcast now from our affiliate in Tokyo and these new images that are just in to CNN from our affiliates there as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I thought I was dying when I was pushed into the water. But I fought -- I fought for my family. I decided to make every effort to survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The clock is ticking to rescue survivors from the disaster in Japan and the death toll continues to climb to nearly 1,600 people. Another major concern we had been talking about here, the risk from quake-damaged nuclear reactors. Crews are using seawaters to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant; a last-ditch move to prevent further meltdown. Officials are assuming two of the reactors went through a partial meltdown.
Meantime Japan's foreign ministry says 69 governments are offering help. The U.S. has sent warships, some supplies, search-and-rescue teams and two experts on nuclear reactors.
A Tokyo woman says she hasn't slept since Friday because of the aftershocks and now she says she's terrified of more radiation leaks from Japan's fragile nuclear reactors.
Let's go down to Professor Glenn Sjoden, he rejoins us from Houston. He is a nuclear engineering professor at Georgia Tech. We also heard one guest last night as you were sitting here speaking to us listening, saying his wife and other people there -- she's speaking to you and said if it rains they're not going to go outside because they feel the radiation is going to be spread from the rainwater.
GLENN SJODEN, GEORGIA TECH: Well, that's assuming there's a lot of radiation being vented, that would be -- you know, if that is true, you know, there's not a lot of radiation being vented is the bottom line. There was -- let's be clear -- it sounds like there was a partial melting of some of the fuel. It was uncovered for a short time. They managed to re-cover it and are playing (ph) that -- generating steam, venting, lowering pressure, putting more water in and they're keeping -- trying to keep the plant stabilized. That takes some effort and I'll be clear. That is a real problem and they're going to have to manage that for a prolonged period of time as those -- as those rods need to be -- have decay and heat removed from them. The fact that there is --
LEMON: I'm sorry. Go ahead. Finish your thought and then I'll ask the question. Go ahead.
SJODEN: The fact that they're going to have to vent that building, they are venting through HEPA filters, which are high efficiency particulate air filters. and that removes most of the radiation that's releasable as far as aerosols and particulates like it's caught up in the HEPA filters in the building so they're just venting steam and air and there is going to be a residual amount of radio activity that is vented and they've noted that that's very low on the site boundary. So therefore it gets lower and lower the further you get away. So again, that we are already at levels relatively low compared to typical medical doses that people get.
LEMON: But, Glenn, let me ask you this. I'm going to play devil's advocate here because there are people who say it is in the best interest of the officials at the nuclear plant, government officials best interests as well to downplay this. And who is scrutinizing those numbers? Is it the International Atomic Energy Agency? How do people there know for sure? And how do we, as a matter of fact, know that the levels are actually where they are and that what's going on inside of this nuclear facility is actually what they're telling us in these press conferences?
SJODEN: Well, it's difficult for me to speculate just monitoring the news reports I've seen, that we've all seen. However, the regulatory agencies and other bodies have monitoring stations, they have on-site monitoring. They have off-site monitoring. They ought to be able to discern what the relative elevated dose rates are. And, again, those - based on the reports that I've seen, those dose rates are at a low level. They are elevated. And so an event has occurred. I'm not trying to say that an event has not occurred. That's definitely true. If they have elevated radiation, they are recording that. That is a problem, and they're having to manage that.
However, the dose rates recorded do not support the conclusion that a complete meltdown has occurred.
LEMON: All right.
SJODEN: That is definitely out of the question from the dose rates that have been recorded.
You would have substantially higher dose rates, you know, had you had a massive meltdown. I'm not saying that it hasn't happened. There has been some melting. There has been some venting of radioactive material. Certainly, the dose rates inside that containment building are extremely high, but that's what the containment building is designed to do, is to contain that radiation. LEMON: That is going to have to be the last word for now. Stick around. We may need you again, because we're getting some information that maybe because they had the power cuts, the and rolling blackouts, that may have been suspended. We're checking on that now. We're monitoring now on Japanese television. So thank you. See you in a minute.
In Japan and around the world, people are scared about a possible nuclear meltdown. Up next, we're going to talk with Bill Nye, the science guy to find out how close that possibility is to becoming a reality. More perspective on this possibility of radiation spreading. And as we go to break, a live broadcast from our affiliate in Japan, NHK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tsunami survivor in (INAUDIBLE) Miyagi, Tatsuro Ichikawa says he was suddenly engulfed in water when his house was hit by a high wave.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Let's talk about the science behind this disaster and its aftermath. And when we start using phrases like nuclear meltdown, a lot of people get very concerned. Let's bring in Bill Nye. You know him, of course, as the science guy. Bill, good to see you again.
Listen, we want to get to the bottom of it here. And we don't want to make people unnecessarily nervous about what's going on over there, but it's really going to take some time before we actually start the report, starting to come back, international agencies go in and check those numbers. So what is of concern, what's at the top of mind for you right now?
BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY": Well, that there was a partial meltdown. So I'm imagining, uranium is a heavy metal. It looks kind of like a piece of lead. So it probably melted in some area and some of its fishing product, some of the stuff that comes out of, that results, when you have this heat generated, got spewed into the air. It certainly got spewed into the containment vessel and some people got contaminated with radioactivity. And this is all bad and very scary.
And this is, as everybody keeps saying, the third very large catastrophe or big accident at a nuclear plant that we've had in a long time. But yesterday, there were people across Germany concerned about more nuclear power. What is it about nuclear power that makes us so afraid. I think that first of all are the nuclear weapons. And the other thing is here is an example. This country is the best prepared in the world. Japan, their regulations are very strict and diligent about earthquakes, but the tsunami thing, although people knew about it, they didn't quite get their minds around it, and sure enough as Mark Twain - I paraphrase - it's not the things that you don't know that get you but it's the things that you're absolutely certain of. That's what gets you in trouble.
So they were sure that this plant was safe and that everything was going to be fine. But it was an unintended - not unintended consequence, unpredicted catastrophic failure that caused this huge problem. And I can tell you if they're pouring seawater on this thing, they're going to shut it down indefinitely. I don't think that plant will ever come back. That's a very costly business.
LEMON: Now, let me ask you this, from one of our viewers, someone sent me a tweet. It says "Can you have Bill explain meltdown does not mean an explosion like a nuclear bomb and many people think when they hear meltdown." Explain to us.
NYE: Well, meltdown means the reactive stuff gets a liquid, melts. It's a metal that melts the way an aluminum or steel melts when you go to cast bronze or what have you. Anyway, when it melts, then the products mix without our control, without the engineer's control. Normally you control it with these pieces of cadmium, this cool metal that absorbs neutrons or you used to line it with this ceramic that has very pure boron in it. It absorbs neutron. When it melts, all those mitigating elements are not available and the thing just gets hotter and hotter and hotter, and there was a movie, very famous, referred to as "The China Syndrome" where you had something melt so strongly, so it got so hot it would burn its way all the way to the earth to China, which is a sort of a North American joke. It's like that.
LEMON: I think the reason people get so concerned and so nervous when you talk about, you know, a nuclear meltdown and the possibility of radiation exposure -
NYE: It's out of control radioactive very, very hot material, that you just, you have to let it burn itself out or fish itself out. And no one's ever really tried that. You know, it's nothing but danger. It's nothing but very serious, very, very long-term problems. It's not like an - really, it's not like an explosion at an oil refinery.
LEMON: Bill, hold that thought. We're going to keep you around, if you can stay we're going to go through this much, much more as we watch these images that are coming in from Japanese television, our affiliate there and the reports as well. So Bill, stick around, sir.
NYE: Thank you.
LEMON: As survivors begin to piece together their lives, people from around the world are turning to the internet to find family and friends. Coming up, we'll show you how it's really turning into a lifeline for millions. We're back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN LIM, MIDWIFE: The moment that a woman falls pregnant in Indonesia, she is 300 times more likely to die in the next 12 months than if she is not pregnant. If you have money, you can get excellent medical services. But the poorest people don't always get the services they need.
In the hospital here, you cannot take the baby home until you pay your bill. Sometimes the mothers wait in the hospital all day waiting to get in to feed their baby and to change their baby's diaper.
My name is Robin Lim. I'm a mid-wife. Most call me Ibu Robin, because Ibu means mother. I've learned about the dangers of motherhood when my own sister, she died as a complication of her third pregnancy. I was just really crushed. I came to Bali to reinvent my life. We started a clinic run by Indonesian midwives. We offer prenatal care, birth services. No matter how poor they are, no matter their race or religion, we teach new graduating classes of midwives how do a more natural gentle birth. The women can stay as long as they want.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robin helps poor people. She carries about me very much like my own mother. I'm extremely grateful.
LIM: Each baby, each adult deserves a clean healthy, loving environment. Those are our human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The internet is providing crucial lifelines in the middle of Japan's disaster. People are using social media to find loved ones, spread information and send donations. It has become a key tool for coping with tragedies of this magnitude.
Tech reporter Katie Linendoll has been following the on-line reaction and there has been a big one, Katie. So give us the details on how people are using social networking just to stay in touch here.
KATIE LINENDOLL, TECH EXPERT: Yes, this is a little bit of good news because Japans' internet has really been resilient despite the devastation. And with that said, a number of people now that the vital communication relies intact, they are turning towards social networking to really be connected and stay connected and keep everybody in the world in the know and what I want to do is kind of take you through some of those popular social networking tools that we've seen throughout the weekend.
And the first one is of course, tweet-o-meter using Twitter. It's interesting to note that just an hour after the quake, when cell phone service was spotty at best, people were turning towards Twitter. So much that, in fact, in Tokyo there were 1,200 tweets per minute. Now you can actually go on this site. We have it pulled up there for you. And it will show you the most popular tweets happening in real-time per geographic location. So obviously in the Tokyo sector that has been spiking very high over the weekend but it allows you to be able to follow along at home as well.
Another one that we love here is in speaking to the Google people early this morning. They're doing everything they can in order to aid and assist around the clock. This is Google People Finder. And Google People Finder actually allows you to either look for an individual or provide information on someone. Now, the idea is to really be able to track somebody that's missing. Early this morning the site had 62,000 records. It us now upwards of 125,000. So it is a really good resource and a place to turn if you're still trying to track people down.
And last but not the least on the YouTube side, YouTube has citizen tube. Now to really see some i-witness accounts and some interesting and compelling video, right from the ground, I encourage you to visit YouTube CitizenTube channel, Don.
LEMON: So listen, talk to me more, Katie, about help. How people can help, how they can go online, be on social networking. Because people are going to need a lot of help and money.
LINENDOLL: Yes, absolutely. In terms of donations I just have to warn you, in times of devastation, this is also a heavy time for scammers and fraud via text, via e-mail, and via social networking sites. The Better Business Bureau is one of the many reputable organizations that will tell you to do your homework even before you put a $5 text out here. I do want to keep you in the know here.
Charity navigator.org is a really great site that you can use for years to come. It actually maps out every non-profit organization and it will tell you if they're on the ground able to aid and assist, do you understand where every portion of your dollar is going in terms of organization and administration fees and expenses. They will also tell you to tract history, the past dollar and donations in the organizations past.
So again, it's so important too, I know it feels distant, you want to do everything that you can. But really understanding where you're putting the $5 even being sent through text, understand and do your homework.
LEMON: Tech whiz Katie Linendoll. Katie, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.
We continue to receive pictures from our viewers showing the quake aftermath. I want you to check out this picture taken just outside of a police station. We're going to have more pictures from Japan coming up and our affiliate now, TV Asahi, as they're reporting this devastation. The Tokyo train station crowds from TV Asahi, our affiliate in Japan.
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LEMON: Some of the stories from Japan carry immense heartbreak. One survivor clung to her daughter but in a terrifying instant the ravaging waters swept the child away, another hellish moment that played out on one of our Japanese affiliates, NHK.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translator): A tsunami hit us. I grabbed something tight, holding my daughter's hand but I lost my grip when I was swept away in the debris and water. I managed to survive but my daughter was washed away. I don't know what to say. I hope my daughter is still alive somewhere. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We hope for her as well. We've given you the latest news from Japan. Now here's what you need to know if you want to help the victims. They may be without power, they may be missing loved ones, they may not have food or water. If you go to cnn.com/impact, you'll find a list of organizations giving aid. Again cnn.com/impact.
Two days after an 8.9 earthquake rocked Japan, we continue to hear amazing stories of survivors who barely escaped the quake and tsunami and we'll share some more of them just ahead.
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STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): It will soon take more than good grades for a senior to graduate from high school in Rhode Island.
(on camera): Your interest is to raise the bar where you don't just send a kid out into the world with a diploma that doesn't really mean anything more than the paper that it's written on.
DEBORAH GIST, RHODE ISLAND EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: And how do you say to a student, OK, you did everything that you could, you're not ready and the likelihood you're going to be successful in wherever you go is pretty dim but here we're going to give you a diploma anyway? I don't think that's in the child's best interest.
PERRY (voice-over): Beginning with the class of 2014, students will have two opportunities to score at least partially proficient on a statewide test in order to graduate. (INAUDIBLE) could make it very difficult for some kids to get a diploma.
ANNE MULREADY, RHODE ISLAND ACLU: There were many children who scored very poorly. There were children with limited English proficiency, children with disabilities, African-American children and Latino children.
The test was designed to show schools what they needed to do to improve instruction, but not designed to determine whether a particular student should graduate.
PERRY (on camera): What if there is a new test?
MULREADY: We don't support high-stakes testing.
PERRY (voice-over): The commissioner said that this is but one part of a comprehensive effort to overhaul secondary education.
MULREADY: We all hope that we can improve the quality of what happens in schools. However, we don't think a result on a single test is necessarily predictive for somebody's future success. There are things like leadership skills, creativity, computer literacy skills that are increasingly important in the real world. Those are the things that no test is going to measure.
PERRY: But grades will, according to the ACLU.
Steve Perry, Providence, Rhode Island.
LEMON: The enormity of the Japanese quake and tsunami is really the sum total of millions of individual stories. Money is one measure. Financial experts say this could be the most expensive quake in history, as much as $100 billion. But in human terms, CNN's Anna Coren says it costs some people everything.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We've just arrived on the outskirts of Ishinomaki, which is about an hour north of Sendai. We've teamed up with the Japanese military and they are going through this neighborhood to see if they can find any survivors.
(voice-over): But it quickly became apparent this wasn't a search and rescue operation. They were here to recover bodies. This neighborhood just 500 meters from the coast caught the full force of the devastating tsunami. Every single home was damaged by the 10- meter wall of water, most beyond repair. This man scrambled on top of his house holding on to the roof for dear life.
(on camera): You are very lucky to be alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm lucky. Very lucky.
COREN (voice-over): There was less than 30 minutes between the quake hitting and the monster wave devouring the coast.
(on camera): This is your house.
(voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) managed to drive out just in time but says his neighbors weren't so lucky.
(on camera): This is a scene of complete and utter devastation. The power of the tsunami, it just speaks for itself. The wall of water that roared through here within seconds collected everything in its path, and from the rescue workers that we have spoken to, the bodies that they are retrieving are those of the elderly people who could not get out in time.
Now for the survivors who are returning to see what is left of their home, when you stand here and witness the devastation, you have to wonder where these people start to rebuild their lives.
Anna Coren, CNN, Ishino-machi, Japan.