Japan faces fears of n-radiation, more quakes (Lead)March 16th, 2011 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS
Tokyo, March 16 (IANS) Japan struggles to move on with relief efforts as survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami are facing lack of food, water and medicines, amid escalating fear of radiation due to a damaged nuclear plant, and two fresh quakes.
A fresh fire broke out Wednesday at a nuclear reactor in Japan’s Fukushima atomic power plant where three of the total six reactors were hit by explosions and a fourth caught fire in the aftermath of the last week’s earthquake.
Many Japanese have been suffering from lack of food, water and medicine as Japan and the international community are continuing their relief efforts in the disaster zone, Xinhua reported.
According to the National Police Agency, Friday’s magnitude-9 quake in northeastern Japan and the ensuing tsunami had left 3,373 people dead and 6,746 others unaccounted for by Tuesday. Around 530,000 are living in more than 2,600 shelters in quake-hit areas.
Friday’s earthquake also followed tsunami, crippling electricity and communication network in the country.
Supplies of basic amenities have been shut due to failure of communication infrastructure in the ravaged areas.
Meanwhile, a strong earthquake of magnitude 6 on the Richter scale jolted Japan’s Kanto region Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the quake, which occurred at 12.52 p.m., originated from a depth of 10 km in the coast of Chiba near Tokyo.
The Wednesday’s quake followed a temblor of similar intensity that hit the eastern Shizuoka prefecture Tuesday night.
No tsunami warnings were issued following the earthquakes.
The Japanese government is stepping up efforts to ship disaster relief supplies there.
The Bank of Japan Wednesday pumped another 3.5 trillion yen ($43.3 billion) into the financial system, adding to the trillions spent Monday and Tuesday to soothe shaken markets.
According to a report in the New York Times, Japanese insurance companies, global insurers and reinsurers, hedge funds and other investors in catastrophe bonds are expected to bear a portion of the losses that seem likely to exceed $100 billion.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that radiation levels around the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima had “risen considerably” and it could endanger human health.
A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has arrived in Japan to help assess humanitarian needs there, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is monitoring the situation at the Fukushima plant.
“The team is based in Tokyo, helping with information management and with international offers of assistance to the Japanese government,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “It plans to send a reconnaissance mission to the prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi on Wednesday.”
The UN spokesman said Japan has asked the IAEA to send a team of experts to the quake-hit nuclear plants.
The US military said Tuesday that low-level radiation was detected at US Navy bases in Japan, and more service members were found exposed to radioactive plumes.
The navy advised its personnel at Yokosuka and Sasebo bases to avoid outdoor activities, but said the relief mission in Japan would continue to work.
A number of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) extended relief aid to Japan, said a statement released by the ASEAN secretariat Tuesday.
The assistance has been offered in various forms, including cash, medical aid, food, and rescue efforts.
The UN General Assembly Tuesday observed a moment of silence for those killed in Japan’s quake and tsunami.
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Tags: atomic power plant, bank of japan, communication infrastructure, devastating earthquake, disaster relief, disaster zone, fresh fire, japan meteorological agency, kanto, kanto region, magnitude 9, n radiation, national police agency, new york times, northeastern japan, nuclear reactor, richter scale, shizuoka prefecture, tokyo march, tsunami warnings