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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid