Earthquake in Japan (March 2011) — 9

13 March 2011 — 11:30 GMT; 20:30 in Japan

The scale of the losses are becoming clearer, and it is truly devastating. The police chief in Miyagi reckons that the death toll in the prefecture alone will be in the tens of thousands. In the neighbouring Iwate, to the north of Miyagi, around 10,000 people cannot be accounted for in Ōtsuchi, including the mayor, and many are missing in the town of Yamada (population: 19,000). At least a quarter of a million people have been made homeless, and spending their days and nights in shelters. There are also a very large number of people isolated whom rescue operators are finding difficult to reach. Many places are without power and water supply, and in parts of Sendai the sewage may overflow, as the processing system has not been functioning. This is the third night after the quake, and in many shelters, food and water are running short, and not enough blankets are available. At the same time, a patchy recovery to normality is observed in Sendai and areas inland.

The no 3 reactor in the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant is still a concern. Recent reports suggest similar things happening to it as had for the no 1 reactor. Hydrogen is building up, and it may cause an explosion. There are planned rolling blackouts on 14 March, which may continue for days.

A note on the sources

I have relied on information available at Japanese internet sites, mainly 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.