News / Asia

Snow, Hunger Add to Misery in Quake-Stricken Japan

A rescue worker uses a two-way radio transceiver during heavy snowfall at a factory area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northern Japan, March 16, 2011
A rescue worker uses a two-way radio transceiver during heavy snowfall at a factory area devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northern Japan, March 16, 2011

A heavy snow fell over the piles of debris of the devastated towns in northeast Japan, leaving survivors huddling for warmth as they waited for emergency supplies of food, water and fuel.

International teams and Japanese soldiers spent Wednesday digging through the rubble, starting the gruesome task of searching for bodies of those who died in last week's record earthquake and tsunami.

In a rare address on public radio and television, revered Emperor Akihito urged all Japanese to take care of one another as they struggle to overcome the tragedy. He also expressed hope that authorities can get control of the situation at the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Teams from the United States, Britain and China were among about 200 foreign specialists assisting in the rescue effort Wednesday in the city of Ofunato, which was virtually obliterated by Friday's three-story tsunami.

Emergency centers were packed with roughly half a million people left homeless or unable to cope with the aftermath of Friday's 9-magnitude earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan. Strong aftershocks continue to shake the ground.

The National Police Agency was quoted Wednesday saying more than 3,600 people have been confirmed dead and that more than 7,500 still are missing.

The head of Miyagi province was quoted earlier saying he believes at least 10,000 people are dead in his province alone.

Thousands more are injured and an estimated 60,000 homes and other buildings have been damaged.

A girl warms herself at a shelter for quake-triggered tsunami survivors in Miyagi Prefecture.
A girl warms herself at a shelter for quake-triggered tsunami survivors in Miyagi Prefecture.

Little is still known of the situation in several coastal communities in Iwate and Miyagi provinces, many of which remain inaccessible because of the damage to roads and infrastructure.

Outside the area of heaviest destruction, Japanese are coping with rolling electricity blackouts because of shortages stemming from the crisis at the Fukushima complex. The government's chief spokesman appealed Wednesday for people not to horde gasoline to ensure there is enough available for relief efforts.

Several countries have warned their nationals to consider moving away from the capital because of the risk of rising radiation. China reported it has already moved 1,200 of its citizens from troubled northern provinces, while Austria announced it is moving its embassy to Osaka, 400 kilometers from the capital.

In Ofunato, a port city of 40,000 in Iwate province, television pictures show virtually nothing is left standing near the waterfront. A TV crew followed a British search team as it dug for what was believed to be a live survivor but in the end found only another body.

The U.S. military newspaper Stars & Stripes quoted the head of a rescue team from Fairfax County near Washington D.C. as saying the chances of finding survivors drops significantly five days after a disaster and becomes remote after seven days.

The international teams are working alongside almost 100,000 members of Japan's Self Defense Forces who are spread out across the disaster zone. Officials said they will call up another 10,000 reserves, marking the first time that has been done.

For the living, misery mounted as the weather bureau predicted snow and several sub-freezing nights and near-freezing days. Officials say about 850,000 households in the north are still without electricity and 1.5 million are without running water.

Japan's Kyodo news agency says crematoriums in Miyagi province are running out of fuel to cremate bodies.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
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.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid