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Japan devastated by earthquake and tsunami; Untold thousands missing or dead

Saturday, March 12th, 2011 11:00am MDT
Slideshow: Recovery efforts begin amongst devastation in Japan. (Examiner.com)

Recovery efforts begin amongst the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Click the image to view a slideshow of images on Examiner.com.

The massive magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Friday has brought incredible devastation to the nation.  The death toll continues to climb and there are reports of thousands of people missing even as a nuclear power plant threatens to release dangerous radiation.

Commercial buildings and homes were reduced to rubble in the magnitude 8.9 earthquake – the fifth largest seen globally since 1900.  Along the cost of Japan’s main island of Honshu, a monstrous tsunami 23 feet high pushed ashore wiping away everything in its path. The devastation was so massive it was easily spotted by NASA satellites.

The death toll has now climbed over 600 people with at least 1,000 missing.  The Kyodo News Service is reporting that according to city officials, 9,500 people in the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture are missing.  The town normally has a population of 17,000.

An explosion at a damaged nuclear power facility increased concerns that a deadly radiation leak may be imminent.  The blast at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant sent smoke billowing into the air and is reported to have injured four workers.

Government officials insist no dangerous levels of radiation have been released.  Nevertheless, they have increased the evacuation radius around the damaged plant from 6 miles (10 km) to 12 miles (20km).  A 6 mile (10 km) evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 2 plant to the south remains in place.  As many as 300,000 will be evacuated due to the danger.

With the concern of a nuclear disaster possibly being in the offing, rescuers continued to comb through the rubble in search of possible survivors.  Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said more than 3,000 people had been rescued but an untold number likely remain buried.

International aid began streaming into the nation including search and rescue teams and supplies from dozens of nations.

The U.S. military in Japan leapt into action and immediately began delivering relief supplies to stricken areas.  The Marine Corps and the Navy will have extensive resources in the area, particularly once the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group arrives tomorrow.

Aftershocks continue to rumble in the ocean near the epicenter of yesterday’s quake.  More than 100 significant temblors have occurred, some onshore on the island of Honshu.

Slideshow: Before and after - NASA satellite images show devastation in Japan (Examiner.com)

Slideshow: Before and after - NASA satellite images show devastation in Japan. Click to view the slideshow on Examiner.com.

More stories from the Natural Disasters Examiner:

We are providing complete coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on the Natural Disasters Examiner on Examiner.com.

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