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Ear to the Ground

Japan Death Toll Estimate Rises Past 18,000

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Posted on Mar 21, 2011
guardian.co.uk

Japanese survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami huddle together at a shelter in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, in this still from The Guardian.

Other international emergencies have clearly occurred in the 10 days since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, but the crisis hasn’t ended in one country just because the news cameras have roamed elsewhere in the meantime. On Monday, The Guardian reported that the estimated death toll in Japan had climbed above 18,000 and the challenge of containing the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was far from over.  —KA

The Guardian:

The human and financial cost of the tsunami continues to rise, after police estimates showed more than 18,000 people have died in the disaster and the World Bank said it may cost Japan as much as £145bn to repair the damage.

The figures came as emergency workers were evacuated from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after smoke or steam was seen rising from one of its reactor units.

The smoke raised concerns that water in the spent fuel pools at the No 3 unit was running low, but officials said there was no immediate spike in radiation levels.

“We are checking the cause of the smoke,” Hidehiko Nishiyama, a nuclear safety agency official, told reporters.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, March 23, 2011 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

Score so far: earthquake and tsunami deaths- 18,000, radiation deaths- 0.

Send money to the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Buy stock in Japanese companies. They’re a steal right now.

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By gerard, March 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Fortunately, it seems that none of my friends were in
or near the area at the time.  They are safe for the present, though the danger of radioactive water and food is causing some dread throughout the nation.
Friends’ emails are calm, sad, expressing concern for their larger “families” especially old people and children.  One stated with determination that it would take five years to recover, another said ten.
Please contribute to relief efforts if you can.

And work here against the nuclear power industry which presents both immediate and long-term dangers, its fatal intricacies being not well understood.

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