News / Asia

Workers Evacuated From Stricken Japan Nuclear Plant

A woman looks at a message board to check for evacuees in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, four days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast.
A woman looks at a message board to check for evacuees in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, four days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast.

Multimedia

Audio

Japanese officials have suspended operations aimed at preventing a stricken nuclear plant from melting down, after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain there.

The chief government spokesman, Yukio Edano, told reporters that radiation levels at the quake-stricken Fukushima plant spiked at mid-morning. He said the remaining workers at the plant were evacuated to a safe area, because of the risk posed by the increased radiation.

Edano said levels have now receded somewhat, and that officials are monitoring them to determine when it would be safe to send the workers back into the plant.

Listen to Les Carpenter speak with VOA's Steve Herman, who is reporting from Koriyama in the disaster region in northern Japan.


Early Wednesday, what appeared to be white smoke was rising from one of the reactors at the plant, which was crippled by last week's devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami. Edano said officials were trying to determine the cause of the smoke, but that the most likely cause is steam escaping from a ruptured containment vessel in one of the reactors.

Japan's government is trying to avert a major nuclear disaster from the crippled plant. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from a 20-kilometer area around the facility.

Watch an explanation of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant (via NHK)



Authorities also are rushing doctors and emergency supplies to thousands of people who have been left without food, water and shelter following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  Japan's NHK television on Tuesday quoted government officials as saying that 3,000 are confirmed dead, but more than 10,000 are missing and feared dead.

The scale of the triple disaster is enormous. U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson Stephanie Bunker told VOA Tuesday she has not seen a disaster quite like this before.

Images from Japan

Television pictures from hard-hit Sendai show people lined up for water and canned food, and some stores rationing food sales to 10 items per person. In other areas, the 100,000 personnel deployed by the government are attempting to rescue survivors stranded by the flood waters and mountains of debris.

Rescue crews still are struggling through debris-blocked roads to get to hundreds of thousands of people whose towns and villages were leveled by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

The government says 15,000 people have been rescued and 450,000 have been evacuated nationwide.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs