News / Asia

Strong Quake Hits Japan on One-Month Anniversary of Disaster

A victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami rests at a shelter in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Displaced on the one-month anniversary of the deadly quake which triggered the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, April 11, 2011
A victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami rests at a shelter in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Displaced on the one-month anniversary of the deadly quake which triggered the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, April 11, 2011

A strong aftershock rattled northeastern Japan Monday, triggering new tsunami warnings and the evacuation of an already-crippled nuclear power plant.  Authorities also urged more people living near the plant to prepare to leave the area, citing concerns about long-term health risks from leaking radiation.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the magnitude of the aftershock at 7.1, the same strength as one that hit on Thursday.  But authorities later revised it downward to 6.6.  A tsunami warning was issued for portions of the northeast coast, but was lifted less than one hour later.

Monday's aftershock struck just hours after people across Japan bowed their heads in silence to mark the one-month anniversary of the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that killed up to 25,000 people and triggered the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant on the country's northeastern coast.

More than 13,000 bodies have been recovered and more than 14,000 remain missing, many still lying under the rubble or washed out to sea.

Officials at Japan's nuclear safety agency said workers were temporarily evacuated Monday from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation since the March 11 quake.  They said outside electrical power to three of the plant's units was cut off, disrupting the injection of cooling water into the reactor cores, but that the electricity was restored after less than an hour.  The officials said they had detected no change in radiation levels.

Authorities also announced preparations to expand the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said residents should prepare to evacuate from certain towns and villages outside the zone as soon as radiation levels exceed pre-determined levels.

He said the government will coordinate with municipal officials in those areas and that residents should wait for further instructions.

Edano also said residents living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima plant should be packed and ready to leave on short notice if the situation at the plant deteriorates. He said those who are ill or have small children should leave the zone in advance of any emergency.

Edano said the decision to evacuate specified communities outside the 20-kilometer radius is based on radiation concentrations caused by geological and weather factors. He said residents must also be prepared for a new emergency at the plant, even though the likelihood of that is considerably lower than before.

The Greenpeace environmental group issued a statement earlier Monday calling for the government to evacuate residents from several radiation hotspots and to remove the most vulnerable people from Fukushima city. It said its own monitoring showed residents of the city could receive the annual maximum dose of radiation within a few weeks.

Earlier Monday, repair crews at the Fukushima plant had begun using remote-controlled power shovels and bulldozers to clear rubble from two nuclear reactors that were damaged by hydrogen explosions.

Officials said they were also preparing to transfer highly radioactive water from a tunnel next to the plant's number two reactor into a condenser. Technicians have been pumping less radioactive water into the ocean since last week to make room in a temporary storage facility for the more dangerous water.

The crisis has made many Japanese distrustful of nuclear power. About 2,000 to 3,000 people took part in a protest march Sunday demanding that the government shut down all nuclear plants in the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid