News / Asia

Japan Rushing Aid to Survivors; Food, Water Supplies Low

An injured survivor searches for food at a destroyed supermarket in the devastated residential area of Otsuchi, Japan, March 15, 2011.
An injured survivor searches for food at a destroyed supermarket in the devastated residential area of Otsuchi, Japan, March 15, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

The government of Japan is rushing doctors and aid supplies to thousands of people left without food, water and shelter in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that flooded swathes of northeast Japan, as fears of a nuclear meltdown permeate the country.

The scale of the triple-disaster is enormous. U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson Stephanie Bunker told VOA Tuesday she had "not seen one [a crisis] quite like this before."

Television pictures on Tuesday from hard-hit Sendai show people lined up for water, 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.

In Koriyama, in the Fukushima area where the crippled nuclear power plant is leaking radiation, people have fled the region. Others are living in damaged homes or trying to repair their houses. Most businesses have closed. One hardware store had a sign warning they were out of tarp and water containers.

Listen to this interview with VOA's Steve Herman, reporting from Koriyama

Workers at Japan's nuclear power plant in Fukushima are desperately trying to cool down reactors that are threatening to meltdown and release dangerous amounts of radiation.

Supplies of gasoline are also running low and expressways have been closed off to all vehicles except for emergency traffic. Bunker said there was a need for clean water, food and blankets, and for those who have lost everything, basic things like soap and toothbrushes.

Japan's NHK television on Tuesday quoted government officials as saying just over 3,000 are confirmed dead, but more than 10,000 are missing and feared dead.

Rescue operation

Rescue crews still were struggling through debris-blocked roads to get to hundreds of thousands of people whose towns and villages were leveled by Friday's magnitude-9 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami.

Millions more are in need of food, water and electricity, while relief efforts are complicated by the widespread destruction of infrastructure. Authorities say they are also desperately short of coffins and body bags for the earthquake victims, many of which are washing up on northeastern beaches.

The government says 15,000 people have already been rescued and 450,000 have been evacuated nationwide. Of the missing, many may have been washed out to sea by the 10-meter tsunami.

Aftershocks continue

People shop for food from an almost empty shelf at a Tokyo store, March 15, 2011.
People shop for food from an almost empty shelf at a Tokyo store, March 15, 2011.

Further south in the capital Tokyo, aftershocks are still shaking buildings every hour or so. Mayo Issobe, who lives in the suburbs, told VOA there had been a run on toilet paper, batteries and gasoline as people started to stock up against shortages.

But mostly she said people felt hopeless against the level of devastation, saying "there is a limit to what you can worry about and what you can do. Life goes on," she said.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid