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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs