Powered by Blogger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tide of death: 2,000 bodies wash ashore on one stretch of coast as scientists warn Japan faces SECOND monster quake and tsunami

By David Williams

-Second 'monster' quake could measure magnitude of 8
-Fears predicted 10,000 death toll could be a massive underestimate
-Crews fight to cool down reactor at nuclear power plant to bring it under control
-Millions left without food and power and hospitals have no medicine

Grim: The Japanese army search for bodies in Higashimatsushima City, in Miyagi, the state where up to 10,000 people may have died

Two thousand bodies were washed up on the shores of north-east Japan yesterday.

The horrifying tide of death in Miyagi province raised fears that the official expected toll of 10,000 could be a huge under-estimate.

Bodies wrapped in blue tarpaulins were laid on military stretchers and lined up for collection.

Ghost town: A once thriving industrial town off the coast in notheast Japan that has now been decimated by the tsunami wave that washed over the region

Clean up: Police walk in file down a hillside today into a coastal town in northeast Japan that has been flattened by the tsunami wave

Men, women and children were picked from the rubble by rescue workers, their task made that much harder by the constant aftershocks threatening more death and destruction.

Miyagi’s police chief, Naoto Takeuchi, warned: ‘I think the number of deaths here will undoubtedly be in the tens of thousands.’

Senen General Hospital in Takajo town, near Miyagi prefecture’s capital of Sendai, had about 200 patients when the earthquake hit, tossing its medical equipment around and collapsing part of the ceiling in one wing.

All of its food and medicine was stored on the first floor. Everything was ruined or lost in the following minutes when Takajo was flooded by the tsunami.

‘We’re only administering the bare necessities,’ said administrator Ryoichi Hashiguchi.

Help: American Red Cross volunteers provide blankets and pillows to passengers of a commercial airline flight taking shelter at Yokota Air Base, a United States Air Force instalation, in response to the earthquake

Screening: A mother tries to talk to her daughter who had been isolated for signs of radiation after evacuating from the vicinity of Fukushima's nuclear plants (left). She then drops down to talk to the family dog

Desolate: A man and a woman sit at the spot where their place of work used to be in Minamisanriku

Happy to be alive: A woman and her aunt cry at a shelter as they reunite for the first time after the tsunami devastated their homes, and right, a mother holds a baby

Aid: Rescuers and victims carry out bags of food aid from a helicopter in Yamada, northern Japan

Nurses have been cutting open soiled intravenous packs and scrubbing down muddy packs of pills with alcohol to cleanse them.

Mr Hashiguchi said he had warned city officials that the conditions of many patients is worsening, adding: ‘I don’t think this is going to be resolved any time soon.’

The pulverised coast has been hit by hundreds of aftershocks since Friday, the latest a 6.2 magnitude quake which was followed by a fresh tsunami scare yesterday.

As sirens wailed, soldiers abandoned their search operations and told people on the devastated shoreline to run to higher ground.
The warning turned out to be a false alarm.

Mourning: Tsuanami survivors carry the body of a victim through debris and past damaged cars in Kesennuma, Miyagi, today

A week on: Another victim is carried through the wreckage while following the massive earthquake, while right, residents make their way past buildings devastated by Friday's massive quake in Kesennuma

Carnage: Rescue workers search through the blackened mess in an area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Otsuchi

‘It’s a scene from hell, absolutely nightmarish,’ said Patrick Fuller, of the International Red Cross Federation.

‘The situation here is just beyond belief. Almost everything has been flattened.’

Japan Red Cross president Tadateru Konoe added: ‘After my long career in the Red Cross where I have seen many disasters and catastrophes, this is the worst I have ever seen.’

The Japanese government and aid agencies are struggling to ferry food, water and medicines to survivors after panic-buying stripped shelves bare in the few shops left standing.

Crematoriums were overflowing with the dead and rescue workers ran out of body bags as the nation faced the reality of its mounting crisis.

Danger: Smoke rises from buildings in Kesennuma, Miyagi still burning today after an earthquake and tsunami swept over the area a week ago

Aftermath: A Japanese home floats in the Pacific Ocean after being uprooted from its foundations by the tremendous power of the tsunami , while right, debris and burned out vehicles in the city of Otsuchi, Iwate

Gllomy: Two Japanese men walk through the flattened city of Minamisanriku, in northeastern Japan as grey clouds gather above them. Buoys from the sea can be seen on the roof of a damaged building

Officials have been overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis, with millions of people facing a fourth night without electricity, water, food or heat in near-freezing temperatures.

Officials estimate that 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives.

The government has sent 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water and 29,000 gallons of petrol plus food to the affected areas.

The stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda following the 9.0 magnitude quake on Friday.

Almost 2million households are without power in the freezing north and about 1.4million have no running water while drivers are waiting in queues for five hours for rationed petrol.

Searching for life: Japan Self-Defence Force members conduct a search operation in Otsuchi, Iwate, northern Japan today

Cleaning: Local residents whose homes have been destroyed wash their clothes by a river at Otsuchi, northeastern Japan, today, while right, rescuers make their way through the devastation to the town of Itsuchi in Iwate

Relief: A mother breaks down in tears after being reunited with her daughter and her brother at a shelter in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, northern Japan today

Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, said authorities were receiving just 10 per cent of the food and other supplies they need. Body bags and coffins were running so short that the government might turn to foreign undertakers for help.

Experts are now warning a second huge quake - almost as powerful as the first - could hit the country, triggering another tsunami.

The director of the Australian Seismological Centre, Dr Kevin McCue, told the Sydney Morning Herald that there had been more than 100 smaller quakes since Friday, and a larger aftershock was likely.

'Normally they happen within days.

'The rule of thumb is that you would expect the main aftershock to be one magnitude smaller than the main shock, so you would be expecting a 7.9.

Barren: Only the concrete shells of a handful of buildings are left in this part of Minamisanriku, in Miyagi, that was hit by the tsunami

Wreckage: Where his home would have once stood, a man walks through the debris left by the tsunami, while right, firemen clamber over upturned cars to put out a fire in Kesennuma, Miyag

Isolated: A house that was built on a mall hill in Minamisanriku overlooks the devastation that was wreaked by the tsunami on the rest of the city

Reduced to matchsticks: A view of a vast area of tsunami devastated Shizugawa district in Minami Sanriku

'That's a monster again in its own right that is capable of producing a tsunami and more damage.'

Another expert believes Friday's quake is the 'aftershock' of an earlier eruption two days before, in which a 7.2 magnitude explosion shook the Pacific sea floor near the northern Miyagi area.

John McCloskey, a geophysicist at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, told the journal Nature the quakes have 'probably also affected the stress field further south along the fault zone, critically increasing the earthquake risk in the Tokyo region'.

He added that the aftershocks 'may be as large as, or even stronger than, the quake that last month devastated Christchurch in New Zealand', the website Good reported.

That disaster, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, claimed more than 160 lives.

According to public broadcaster NHK, 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives. Another 24,000 people are stranded.

One reason for the loss of power is the damage several nuclear reactors in the area. At one plant, Fukushima Dai-ichi, three reactors have lost the ability to cool down. Explosions have destroyed the containment buildings of the other two reactors.

More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area around the plants in recent days.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said it has moved its ships and aircraft away from an earthquake-stricken Japanese nuclear power plant after discovering low-level radioactive contamination.

The fleet said today that the radiation was from a plume of smoke and steam released from the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, which has been hit by two explosions since Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100 miles (160km) offshore when its instruments detected the radiation.

But the fleet said the dose of radiation was about the same as one month's normal exposure to natural background radiation in the environment.

Tokyo Electric Power held off on imposing rolling blackouts planned for today, but called for people to try to limit electricity use.

Many regional train lines were suspended or operating on a limited schedule to help reduce the power load.

Japan's central bank injected 15 trillion yen (£114 billion) into money markets to stem worries about the world's third-largest economy.

Shares fell on the first business day after the disasters. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average shed nearly 634 points, or 6.2%, to 9,620.49, extending losses from Friday. Escalating concerns over the fallout of the disaster triggered a plunge that hit all sectors.

Japan's economy has been ailing for 20 years, barely managing to eke out weak growth between slowdowns. It is saddled by a massive public debt that, at 200% of gross domestic product, is the biggest among industrialised nations.

Preliminary estimates put repair costs from the earthquake and tsunami in the tens of billions of dollars - a huge blow for an already fragile economy that lost its place as the world's No. 2 to China last year.



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants