Earthquake In Japan: Death toll rises to more than 4,000

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The Independent Online
Kobe (AP) - The death toll from the Kobe earthquake rose to more than 4,047 yesterday, as exhausted rescuers used trained dogs, including avalanche rescue ones sent in from Switzerland, to find survivors buried in the ruins.

Police said early yesterday that 727 people were still missing. Hopes were fading that many of them would be found alive after being buried so long in freezing temperatures. Nevertheless, several survivors, including a nine-year-old boy and a man aged 94, were found alive yesterday.

In one neighbourhood, a barking dog led rescuers to his master, 65-year-old Chiyoko Amakawa, who had been buried for 53 hours. Doctors said she was badly bruised but suffered no broken bones.

"It was pitch dark and my leg hurt so much and I was thirsty, but I called to `Pochi' and told him I was in pain and needed help. I just wondered over and over again when I was going to die."

Two 80-year-old women were pulled alive from rubble in Nishinomiya, east of Kobe. One was barely scratched; even her glasses were intact. But almost all of the 200 missing people unearthed yesterday were dead.

More than 3,000 people, including 500 doctors, volunteered their services to the Kobe administration. Over 90 fires broke out yesterday in Kobe, including one that destroyed a market arcade. At one blaze, a man covering his mouth with a gauze mask shouted at firemen: "What are you standing there for? Do something! Shoot water!" The fireman pointed to his hose as a few drops of water trickled out. "We don't have enough water."

n Bogota - An earthquake estimated at between 6.5 and 6.9 on the Richter scale rocked rural Colombia yesterday, killing at least one person and damaging buildings in several cities.