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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid