News / Asia

Japanese Struggling to Find Food and Water in Disaster Area

People look for food amid empty shelves in a shop in Fukushima on March 13, 2011.
People look for food amid empty shelves in a shop in Fukushima on March 13, 2011.
Sean Maroney

Officials with Japan's nuclear safety agency said early Sunday morning there is an emergency at another nuclear reactor at a quake-hit power plant.  The agency says the cooling system at the number three reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is offline and could possibly explode, following Saturday's blast at the plant's number one reactor.  

Reports quoting government officials say up to 160 people may have been exposed to radiation.  Meanwhile, residents in the country's northeast are struggling to find food and clean water.

Aftershocks continued to hit northeastern Japan Sunday, several days after a 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting 10-meter-high tsunami devastated the coastline.  

VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is near the power plant.  He says locals are complaining that the authorities are not giving them accurate information about the situation fast enough. "One of the things the authorities are trying to do is not have any panic spreading among people, but information about what is happening is coming out of Tokyo not Fukushima," he said.

Herman says authorities still have not determined how much damage the country's coastline communities have suffered. "Japan just has countless little farming communities and fishing communites.  And it is these fishing communities that have really taken the horrible hit up and down the northeastern Pacific coast.  There is obviously just hundreds, if not thousands, of these types of towns and villages that have been totally or partly destroyed," he said.

The final death toll could range from the thousands to tens of thousands, depending on how many of these communities are gone.

VOA reporters managed to travel to Fukushima by plane, but many airports, roads and railways remain flooded or damaged throughout Japan.

Herman says that because of this, people are scrambling to find basic necessities, even in inland areas such as Fukushima. "People are just trying to find clean water.  Food supplies are running out.  In the convenience stores, there are no rice balls left.  There is no bottled water left.  We are facing a really serious situation in the days ahead for these people that are living in areas that were only moderately damaged," he said.

Overall, analysts say Japan could have fared much worse in the disaster.

Tokyo has invested billions of dollars into making the country as earthquake-proof as possible.  Architects specially design high-rise buildings to flex in a quake.  Tsunami warning signs and large seawalls line the Japanese coast.  Even schoolchildren practice drills on what to do during an earthquake.

However in the end, analysts say that no amount of human preparedness is foolproof against the power of nature.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid