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In Quake Zone, Fatigue And Frustration Setting In

January 20, 1995

NISHINOMIYA, Japan (AP) _ Outside battered City Hall, the supplies piled up. For the living, there were blankets and flashlights. For the dead, shrouds and coffins.

Michihiro Narima, a father of two, had been living since Tuesday’s quake in his compact car in this Kobe suburb. Tired, hungry and cold, he came to City Hall seeking help.

``We’re just hoping they can do something for us,″ he said.

Town official Takahiro Inada was taking down reports of damage. Everyone wanted to know how to find food and housing.

His answer: There isn’t any, except at already overflowing shelters.

``I suggest you go to another city,″ he told people gently.

Many were taking that advice. The roads out of town were jammed, mostly with cars bearing Kobe license plates.

Sixteen-year-old Yuko Mishima’s family apartment was badly damaged. After the quake, the family had to break down the door to get out.

``We couldn’t stay, because the door is broken, the windows are broken, and the wind is too fierce. It’s very cold,″ she said.

The cold, in fact, was becoming more and more of an enemy. Some victims have been sleeping in the open for several nights.

``It’s pretty hard to live without heat,″ said Shizuya Geshi, 39, who works for a trading company.

In addition to the exodus, the roads were jammed with arrivals _ mostly people trying to find out if loved ones were safe.

Shinichi Seto drove through the night to look for his cousins in Nada Ward, one of the worst-hit areas.

Much of the area was smoking rubble when Seto arrived. But his cousins’ building was relatively unharmed, and Seto was able to find someone who knew where they were.

``They were banged up, but didn’t need to go to the hospital,″ Seto was told by a neighbor. ``They went to stay with their parents.″

Most households were still without gas, electricity or running water. But some telephone service was being restored, and buses were running on limited routes.

Aside from pushing the rubble aside to let emergency vehicles through, little organized cleanup has begun. Evidence of how big that job will be is everywhere.

A beer brewery in Nishinomiya had about 100,000 bottles stored in bins out front. After the quake, they lay shattered into a giant pile of broken glass. No one had tried to sweep it up.

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