News / Asia

    New Explosion Heard at Japanese Nuclear Plant

    Upon hearing another tsunami warning, a father tries to flee for safety with his just reunited four-month-old baby girl who was spotted by Japan's Self-Defense Force member in the rubble of tsunami-torn Ishinomaki Monday, March 14, 2011.
    Upon hearing another tsunami warning, a father tries to flee for safety with his just reunited four-month-old baby girl who was spotted by Japan's Self-Defense Force member in the rubble of tsunami-torn Ishinomaki Monday, March 14, 2011.
    Henry Ridgwell

    Latest Update

    A third explosion in four days has rocked an earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, sparking fears of major radioactive leak.  The explosion early Tuesday at the Fukushima plant follow similar blasts on Saturday and Monday.

    Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency says the latest explosion may have damaged the reactor's pressure-suppressing system.


    Workers at a nuclear plant in Japan are battling to prevent a meltdown in one of the reactors, following the massive earthquake that struck the north-east part of the country on Friday.  The latest government figures figures put the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami at over 2,000 - but that’s likely to increase dramatically in the coming days.

    Amateur video footage, taken in a coastal town as the tsunami hit, reveals the full power of the tsunami in horrific detail. Residents had just minutes to flee before the wall of water came ashore.

    Listen to Les Carpenter speak with VOA's Steve Herman in Koriyama about the latest developments at the Fukushima nuclear plant

    The town where the video was taken, Miniami Sanriku on the coast of Miyagi prefecture, is now flattened. Authorities say 10,000 of its residents are missing.


    Japan has now dispatched 100,000 troops to the area and rescue teams from the U.S, New Zealand, China and other countries have arrived.

    Aid Sent and Offered to Japan

    • US: 8 warships off coast, 50 rescue workers, US AID sending 72 personnel and equipment
    • Australia: sends dogs, search, rescue teams
    • Afghanistan: provice of Kandahar offers $50,000 in aid
    • Britain, France, Germany offer personnel, equipment, emergency aid
    • Russia: increases energy supplies to Japan
    • China, South Korea, India offer aid

    They are being greeted with scenes of utter devastation. The death toll is rising steadily; it will be weeks before it’s known how many people lie buried here, or how many were swept out to sea.

    Reunions bring relief from the horror, but for many more families the search for loved ones continues.

    The grim rescue efforts are taking place against the backdrop of a threatened nuclear disaster.

    Now, technicians are trying to avoid a meltdown in one of the three reactors by pouring in seawater. They say the fuel rods were almost completely exposed - raising fears of a further catastrophe.

    Raw video of tsunami

    All people within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant are being evacuated to other areas.  The Japanese government is playing down fears of a nuclear disaster - but news reports say that a U.S. aircraft carrier in the area has been redeployed, after recording abnormally high levels of radiation 100 kilometers offshore.

    Social Media: Disaster in Japan


    The Crisis Commons volunteer community has mobilized, and part of the effort is being coordinated by Japanese students at U.S. universities.


    The Red Cross has opened a page on causes.com to raise money for the victims of Friday's disaster in Japan.


    Google has launched a service for people seeking to reconnect with those in the disaster area.


    The State Department tweeted:
    RT @TravelGov: U.S. citizens in #Japan can stay informed about current conditions in the region through #STEP: goo.gl/SdXk #tsunami

    Aftershocks continue to rock much of northern and eastern Japan - including the capital.

    At six pm on a Monday evening, Tokyo's main train station is normally packed, as millions of commuters head to the suburbs.

    It appears many workers have heeded the government’s call for people to stay home, in an effort to conserve energy.

    For those who did venture out, the sense of fear following Friday's massive earthquake is still present. “It’s very scary. I’m scared of more earthquakes,” one person said.

    “I was in my office on the 33rd floor when the earthquake struck on Friday. It swayed from side to side, everyone was so shocked,” said another.

    The danger is not yet over.

    Japan’s Meteorological Agency says there is a 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7 or stronger earthquake striking in the next three days.

    In this huge urban area of 35-million inhabitants, there is a palpable nervousness over what the coming days may bring.

    As Tokyo’s workers head home - it's likely their thoughts are also with the tens of thousands of people further north, whose homes and livelihoods have crumbled or been washed away.

    Images from Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai, Japan (photos by S.L. Herman)

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.