Death toll rises from Japan quake

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

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The death toll from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on Friday has risen to more than a thousand, with many people still missing, according to reports issued over the weekend.

While Japan’s police says that only 637 are confirmed dead, media reports say that over a thousand people have been killed, with several hundred bodies still being transported. Thousands more are still unaccounted for; in the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture alone, up to 10,000 people are missing. Four trains that were on the coast have yet to be located.

In the aftermath of the disaster, evacuations of around 300,000 people have taken place; more evacuations are likely in the wake of concerns over a damaged nuclear power plant. According to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, around 3,000 people have been rescued thus far. 50,000 troops from the Japanese military have been deployed to assist in rescue efforts.

The tsunami generated by the quake has destroyed communities along Japan’s Pacific coast, with up to 90% of the houses in some towns having been destroyed; at least 3,400 structures have been destroyed in total. Fires have also sprung up among the impacted areas.

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