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Toll of Dead, Missing Climbs in Japan Earthquake

At least nine people are dead and 11 missing following Saturday's earthquake in Northern Japan. The quake caused landslides which buried people at both a construction and a hot springs resort site. VOA's Kurt Achin is monitoring news of the earthquake from Seoul.

More than 270 smaller aftershocks have followed Saturday's 7.2 magnitude quake in northern Japan's Iwate prefecture.

Scientists are warning residents to be prepared for even more temblors, and to watch out for secondary disasters such as landslides.

Japanese officials say hundreds of rescue workers are working around the clock.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda says we have sent all possible help. Our most important task is to save as many lives as possible, and he says we are doing the best we can.

Authorities are also working to restore water, power, and gas service to thousands of homes cut off by the disaster.

Japanese television has been broadcasting frequent images of ordinary residents affected by the quake.

Housewife Tokiyo Kato says she may have to stay at an earthquake evacuation center for a week or more.

Much of the damage is concentrated in mountainous areas, complicating recovery efforts. Hundreds of people stranded by quake-induced bridge collapses and roadblocks have been moved to safety via helicopter.

Japan is situated in one of the world's most earthquake-prone geological zones. An earthquake in Kobe, Japan 13 years ago killed more than 6,000 people.