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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid