It is still difficult to make long-distance calls to a wide area of northern Japan and Kanto region at the moment (I have tried but could not get connected), and the mobile telephone networks seem patchy in their coverage. There are millions of households without electricity, even though the Tokyo area is recovering somewhat, with some underground and train lines resuming service. This quake has affected the whole of northern Japan very badly, an area far greater than many of the previous quakes and other natural disasters. There have been many aftershocks, some of them substantial, which could cause new waves of tsunamis.
Reports are coming in from various places, and the number of the dead and injured has increased drastically over the past hour or so. It is reported that in Wakabayashi District in Sendai, where the tsunami waters made 2 km into the land, 200 to 300 bodies have been spotted, and these deaths were caused by drowning. The full scale of this disaster will take hours to emerge, and I fear that the number of the dead and the injured will increase, as it is already late in Japan. It’s cold, and it’s dark. And it looks like it can only get darker.
A note on the sources
I have relied on information available at Japanese internet sites, mainly asahi.com and Yomiuri Online, the two largest daily newspapers in the country, and Kahoku Online Network, a regional paper, as well as official sources, such as Japan Meteorological Agency and the National Police Agency.