Update of Japan’s tsunami cost to life and finances

Posted: March 14, 2011 in Asia, Mother Nature


Japan Calculates Lives Lost and Financial Costs

Written by Raven Clabough  

Japan’s tsunami, triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake — one of the world’s five most powerful in recorded history — is projected to leave tens of thousands dead in its wake. Two thousand bodies have already been uncovered on the shores of Miyagi prefecture, an area that suffered the majority of the damage.The Guardian reports, “Officials say at least 10,000 people in more than a quarter of Japan’s 47 prefectures are likely to have been killed.” The widespread destruction has impeded the delivery of necessities such as food, water, and blankets.

In the Miyagi prefecture, 785 people have been confirmed dead, with local authorizes fearing the number will far exceed 10,000, as at least that many people have been reported missing following the tsunami.

Likewise, 574 people are confirmed dead in the Iwate prefecture, where the city of Rikuzentakata is reportedly “almost completely wiped out,” says the fire department. Patrick Fuller of the International Red Cross Federation described the town of Otsuchi — where more than 12,000 people are missing — as “a scene from hell, absolutely nightmarish.” He added, “The situation here is just beyond, belief[;] almost everything has been flattened. The government is saying that 9,500 people, more than half of the population, could have died, and I do fear the worst.” Unfortunately, relief efforts in Otsuchi are being hampered by fires as well as near-freezing temperatures.

As for the Fukushima prefecture, 420 people are confirmed dead, with 1,200 more missing. In the town of Soma, the crematorium has been overwhelmed with bodies brought in for funerals. Katsuhiko Abe, an official in Soma, explains: “We have already begun cremations, but we can only handle 18 bodies a day. We are overwhelmed and are asking other cities to help us deal with bodies. We only have one crematorium in town.”

Over 100,000 Japanese troops and 500 foreign rescue specialists have been deployed, but rescue efforts are hampered by severe damage to infrastructure, roads, railroads, power, and ports.

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