Earthquake in Japan (March 2011) — 11

14 March 2011 — 00:45 GMT; 09:45 in Japan

A very anxious wait for more news continues in Japan. According to the National Police Agency, the number of confirmed deaths stands at 1,598 and that of those missing at 1,720, as of 08:00 local time. However, these figures only include confirmed deaths and those reported as missing. Both the police chief and the prefect (governor) of Miyagi have been talking of an eventual death toll in the tens of thousands. Similar figures are being talked for Iwate. Reports trickling through from the worst affected areas seem to confirm such devastating, unfathomable, figures.

There is a summary of the situation, as of 07:30, available at the home page of the Japanese PM and the Cabinet (http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/kikikanri/jisin/20110311miyagi/201103140730.pdf), which still shows how much the authorities do not know yet. There are relatively few concrete figures in this document.

The number of people who are assembled in shelters are reported as above 450,000 by some newspapers. There have been deliveries of food, water, blankets, fuel, medicine, nappies (diapers), portable toilet units, and other essential goods, however, they haven’t been sufficient, and they haven’t reached all the people who require assistance. After three nights, provisions are running low in many places. And it can be very cold at night.

The Kanto area around Tokyo will be experiencing rolling blackouts. For this reason, the rail network is badly disrupted. The authorities are requesting people not to make journeys unless they are necessary. (Read also: Rolling blackouts)