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Japan Quake Death Toll Estimated over 10,000; PM Calls Crisis Worst Since WWII

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By Ethan Cole , Christian Post Reporter
March 13, 2011|9:36 am
japan quake rescuers
(Photo: AP/Kyodo News)
A man who's been stranded in a residence is carried on the back of a Japanese soldier to higher grounds at Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, on Saturday March 12, 2011, one day after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami is likely to have killed more than 10,000 people in one state alone, according to the police chief of Miyagi prefecture (state) on Sunday.

Miyagi is one of the hardest-hit prefectures by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami.

"This is Japan's most severe crisis since the war ended 65 years ago," said Prime Minister Naoto Kan to reporters.

Millions of Japanese resident along the northeastern coast are without clean water, food, and electricity two days after the earthquake triggered a 23-foot tsunami that struck the island nation at 2:46 p.m. (local time) on Friday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake has a magnitude of 8.9, but Japanese officials on Sunday are estimating it was 9.0. The quake is reportedly the fifth most powerful quake to hit the world since 1900 and the worst in Japan's recorded history.

  • Japan quake water
    (Photo: AP/Kyodo News)
    Local residents form a long line at a water station set up at a park at Koriyama, northeastern Japan, on Saturday March 12, 2011, one day after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast.
  • Japan elderly man
    (Photo: AP /Mark Baker)
    An elderly man is helped into a wheelchair to be scanned for levels of radiation in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011. Friday's quake and tsunami damaged two nuclear reactors at a power plant in the prefecture, and at least one of them appeared to be going through a partial meltdown, raising fears of a radiation leak.
  • Japan
    (Photo: AP Images / Koji Sasahara)
    Displaced vehicles are seen at Sendai Port in Sendai, northeastern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011, following Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake and the tsunami it spawned hit the country's northeastern coast.
  • Japan
    (Photo: AP Images / Kyodo News)
    A father and child who lost their home stand in front of debris in Sendai, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday.
  • tsunami
    (Photo: AP Images / NHK TV)
    In this video image taken from Japan's NHK TV, a tsunami surge sweeps boats, cars and other debris over a highway in the Sendai City area, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan Friday March 11, 2011 following a massive earth quake. A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast.
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More than 1.4 million households have been without water since Friday, and about 2.5 million households without electricity, according to The Associated Press.

The Japanese government reported that it has sent over 100,000 each of blankets, bottled water, and liters of gasoline in addition to instant cup noodles, rice balls, diapers and bread to the affected areas.

But not only do survivors have to worry about getting by until aid arrives, they also have the added fear of being exposed to radiation from two nuclear reactors damaged by the quake and tsunami. At least one of the reactors seems to be undergoing a partial meltdown. But on Sunday, Japan's prime minister dismissed assertion that a meltdown had occurred and said he would not use the word "meltdown" in describing what was happening with the reactors.

But fear remains that there will be a second explosion at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan on Sunday as workers urgently try to cool down fuel rods. An explosion already occurred Saturday, resulting in the roof of a building housing a reactor being blown off, according to CNN.

Amid all the turbulent developments in Japan, several Christian aid agencies are providing emergency relief to as many people as they can. The Salvation Army Japan reported that it sent a team to the city of Sendai, the hardest-hit city, on Friday night and began providing basic necessities and assessing damage on Saturday.

The group's headquarters in Tokyo also opened up its hall on the ground floor to people who could not get home because the public transportation in the city was stopped due to the quake. Those who came for shelter were given hot drinks and packed meals.

Meanwhile, World Vision deployed three staff to affected areas to assess the damage and to identify the immediate needs of the survivors. It said it will respond to the disaster with an initial budget of $400,000 for one month.

"Our prayers and that of the partnership are for the survivors as well as everyone impacted by the calamity," said Kenjiro Ban, World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs manager in Japan.

 

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