Japan earthquake – Mourning the death/destruction and returning to normal life (Part 8)

Last update: March 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm by By

This is part 8 of our ongoing reporting with many updates about the massive 9.0 earthquake / tsunami which struck Japan on March 11 2011.
Click here for part one
Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami UPDATE : Fatalities : 11,102 - Missing : 16,493 = 28,550 27,595
For an actual in-depth report on damage, fatalities, injured, etc please consult our “CATDAT Excel Sheet” , “CATDAT Graphic” , “Detailed fatalities and Missing map“.
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Image courtesy US Navy - Village of Wakuya after the tsunami destruction

IMPORTANT UPDATE  12:08 UTC : We are happy to tell our readers that we finally are witnessing a substantial DECREASE in alleged tsunami fatalities.
As predicted by earthquake-report, the missing statistics would climb a lot after adding Miyagi but would then probably dropping when more and more people listed as missed are detected alive.
Fatalities : 11,102 up from 10,901
Missing : 16,493 down from 17,649
Total assumed killed = 28,550 27,595

UPDATE  11:34 UTC : JMA Intensity 4 has been reported for the following locations : Miyagi-ken Hokubu, Miyagi-ken Chubu and Fukushima-ken Nakadori

UPDATE  11:28 UTC : The very strong magnitude is weakened a lot by the distance of approx. 110 km to the shore. JMA expects a max. JMA scale intensity of 4.
Earthquake-report handles 5+ in Japan as potentially damaging.

UPDATE  11:25 UTC : Very strong shallow seaquake approx. 110 km out of the Minamisoma coast.
Minamisoma was one of the cities which was extremely hard hit during the devastating tsunami.
127 km (78 miles) ENE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan and 152 km (94 miles) SE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan

UPDATE  11:22 UTC : GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries

UPDATE  11:19 UTC : NO tsunami alert has been issued for this aftershock

UPDATE  11:18 UTC : Very strong aftershock of magnitude 6.3 at a very shallow depth of 18.2 km.

UPDATE  10:17 UTC : Nationalizing TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co), the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, may be an option says the Japanese government.

UPDATE  10:14 UTC : Japanese government has obliged TEPCO to continuously monitor radiation and water levels in tunnels at the 3 damaged Fukushima reactors.

UPDATE  10:05 UTC : A government report shows that big water level changes in the greater epicenter area continued for approx.6 hours after the tsunami  on March 11th.
The data have been collected by 7 GPS wave recorders which were installed in the open sea.
As almost all coastal tide observatories were destroyed by the tsunami (!) almost NO other wave data was present.
One recorder detected tsunami waves right after the massive quake began.
A wave of approx. 7 meters was recorded about 25 minutes after the quake. The next 30 minutes the level fell by about 10 meters in 30 minutes.
These findings explain the powerful drawback waves that swept buildings and vehicles into the sea.
Smaller waves (1 to 2 meter) were recorded the following 6 hours.

UPDATE  00:59 UTC : 3 men exposed to high levels of radiation have left the hospital. They have received special medical treatment after having been exposed to radiation while installing power cables at the Number 3 reactor on Thursday.

UPDATE  00:57 UTC : TEPCO reported that very high levels of radiation have been recorded in water just outside the turbine building of one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

UPDATE  00:55 UTC : In Kesennuma City, Miyagi, the distribution of relief supplies is being supported by a private company. The company has sent 500 staff and 200 vehicles to Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima to support logistics in coordination with local governments.

UPDATE  00:18 UTC : Much of local media’s focus at the moment is on the coordination challenges and local authorities’ capacity to absorb volunteers. They report that many municipalities in the affected areas are unable to receive the increasing number of volunteers because of limited coordination capacity and lack of fuel and food to spare. As a result, most municipalities have limited the number of volunteers and existing volunteers are exhausted.

UPDATE  00:15 UTC : The shortage of fuel is still an issue and as soon as it is readily available it is expected that people in shelters will move out of the centres and into non-affected areas. It is also preventing volunteers and NGOs reaching the affected population.

UPDATE  29/03 – 00:07 UTC : OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reports that there are still significant humanitarian needs that are not being met because of coordination and logistical issues. The biggest concern is the extremely poor sanitation conditions at the evacuation centers.

UPDATE  23:47 UTC : Authorities maintain the need for further international assistance is limited and any support should clearly be in accordance with the Government of Japan’s criteria.

UPDATE  23:43 UTC : An estimated 1000 children have died or are missing from the tsunami.

UPDATE  23:40 UTC : The shortage of fuel is hindering efforts to bring relief workers into the affected areas as well as move evacuees out.

UPDATE  23:05 UTC : We did add today new versions of the CATDAT Situation Report version 12. See links above.

UPDATE  09:57 UTC : We have just uploaded a new version (version 12) of our CATDAT Excel Tohoku earthquake overview Sheet containing the data until FDMA report 85 and the NPA data until March 28, 2011 at 15:00pm (Local Japanese Time)

UPDATE  09:54 UTC : We are sorry to publish a  new update with a climbing death toll. Main change this time is the number of missing who climbed considerably with more than 1,400 persons. The steep climb is almost uniquely coming from Miyagi.
Not a surprise to earthquake-report as we have written this already a couple of days ago.
Confirmed dead : 10,901 up from 10,844
Confirmed missing : 17,649 up from 16,204

UPDATE  00:29 UTC : JMA has reported that NO tsunami was observed after this aftershock.

UPDATE  00:17 UTC : USGS has lowered the magnitude of the aftershock from M 6.5 to M 6.1

UPDATE  28/03 – 00:12 UTC : All tsunami advisories have been canceled for the following coastal regions of Japan: Miyagi prefecture

UPDATE  23:40 UTC : The tsunami advisory is being published by Japan’s JMA and is only valid for Miyagi prefecture. People along other coastlines in Japan or in the pacific do NOT have a tsunami risk.

UPDATE  23:30 UTC : The time of arrival of the waves is elapsed and as soon as we have to recorded waves, we will bring them to you.

UPDATE  23:20 UTC : Expected arrival times of the potential tsunami waves :

MIYAGI PREF. (*1)
Ishinomaki-shi Ayukawa 08:28 JST 28 Mar 07:50 JST 28 Mar
Sendai-ko 08:39 JST 28 Mar 08:20 JST 28 Mar

UPDATE  23:14 UTC : At earthquake-Report.com, we are upset that a tsunami advisory from JMA is not immediately published by the main networks. A tsunami is something VERY serious. The expected waves are not higher than 0.5 meters, but based on our experience in many cases, the height is very difficult to calculate and can differ very much from location to location.

UPDATE  23:01 UTC : This is one of the first times that JMA has called a tsunami advisory since the destructive mainshock and tsunami.  Most other strong to very strong aftershocks had a focal point deeper in the earth and the epicenter was mostly at a bigger distance from the coast.

UPDATE  22:54 UTC : JMA called a TSUNAMI advisory of max. 0.5 meters for some parts of Miyagi prefecture. See JMA map here

UPDATE  22:42 UTC : M 6.5     2011/03/27 22:23    Depth 5.9 km  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
March 28, 2011 at 07:23:56 AM at epicenter
Very strong aftershock approx. 60 km out of the greater Sendai area coast.
109 km (68 miles) E (81°) from Sendai, Honshu, Japan and 163 km (101 miles) ENE (62°) from Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
People in the coastal area have experienced the aftershock as a max. 5- JMA strong shaking but probably not damaging)
Satellite map of the greater epicenter area

UPDATE  21:46 UTC : We are sorry to publish a  new update with a climbing death toll but we are happy that the missing have dropped a third time in a row :
Killed : 10,844 up from 10,668
Missing : 16,204 down from 16,574

UPDATE  21:30 UTC : IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (27 March 2011, 13:30 UTC)
1. Current Situation
The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains very serious.
The restoration of off-site power continues and lighting is now available in the central control rooms of Units 1, 2 and 3. Also, fresh water is now being injected into the Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) of all three Units.
Radiation measurements in the containment vessels and suppression chambers of Units 1, 2 and 3 continued to decrease. White “smoke” continued to be emitted from Units 1 to 4.
Pressure in the RPV showed a slight increase at Unit 1 and was stable at Units 2 and 3, possibly indicating that there has been no major breach in the pressure vessels.
At Unit 1, the temperature measured at the bottom of the RPV fell slightly to 142 °C. At Unit 2, the temperature at the bottom of the RPV fell to 97 °C from 100 °C reported in the Update provided yesterday. Pumping of water from the turbine hall basement to the condenser is in progress with a view to allowing power restoration activities to continue.
At Unit 3, plans are being made to pump water from the turbine building to the main condenser but the method has not yet been decided. This should reduce the radiation levels in the turbine building and reduce the risk of contamination of workers in the turbine building restoring equipment.
No notable change has been reported in the condition of Unit 4.
Water is still being added to the spent fuel pools of Units 1 to 4 and efforts continue to restore normal cooling functions.
Units 5 and 6 remain in cold shutdown.
We understand that three workers who suffered contamination are still under observation in hospital.

UPDATE  22:16 UTC : Japanese scientists did published a report that a 13-meter tsunami hit a shelter one kilometer from the coast of Rikuzen-takata City in Iwate Prefecture.
The researchers from the University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology say that the tsunami reached beams near the ceiling of a gymnasium where many people were sheltering after the initial quake. Many of them were swept away and drowned.
The researchers say the tsunami traveled at a speed of more than 40 kilometers per hour and the waves were so powerful that they carried mountain rocks weighing about 20 tons each to places around the sports center.

UPDATE  09:33 UTC : Scientists have concluded that a record 16-meter tsunami hit a coastal town in Miyagi Prefecture on March 11.
They based their finding after inspecting buildings in Minami-sanriku Town, devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami.
They determined that a tsunami 12 to 14 meters high hit hospitals and the town hall (center of town).

UPDATE  08:45 UTC : The death toll seems to have stabilized a little with the value of 10668 dead and 16574 missing being recorded. However, it must be noted that the missing count is likely to be increased once Miyagi prefecture adds their further missing.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected.

UPDATE  01:02 UTC : The U.S. Navy,  delivered fresh water to replace corrosive salt water now being used in a desperate bid to cool the plants overheated reactors.

UPDATE  27/03 – 00:58 UTC : The government of Japan has criticized the operator of the nuclear plant for sending workers in without protective footwear in its faltering efforts to control a monumental crisis.
Government  urged TEPCO to be more transparent.
Two workers at the Fukushima plant suffered skin burns when they stepped in water that was 10,000 times more radioactive than levels normally found near the reactors.

UPDATE  19:30 UTC : The level of radioactivity in the air of northeastern Japan has been stable or decreasing for the past few days through Saturday.

UPDATE  18:57 UTC : Georgia has provided USD 1 million via the Red Cross to the relief efforts for earthquake and tsunami-hit Japan, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

UPDATE  18:50 UTC : The IAEA has been informed by Japanese authorities that fresh water is now being used in place of sea water to cool the reactor pressure vessels at Units 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

UPDATE  18:50 UTC : Access to water remains a concern with 660,000 households in 10 prefectures still without water.

UPDATE  09:50 UTC : Some more (still isolated) good news : Since midnight UTC (that’s 10 hours), the aftershocks did NOT reach a magnitude 5.0 anymore. Frequency and strength of the aftershocks is considerably lower than during the first week after the mainshock. People in the shelters near the damaged localities will be able to sleep a little better.

UPDATE  08:12 UTC : The death and missing toll has risen to 10418 dead with 17072 missing , according to NPA.

UPDATE  00:38 UTC : Radiation levels in Tokyo tap water return to normal.

UPDATE  00:28 UTC : Concerning offers of assistance by NGOs, the Government of Japan states that Search and Rescue operation phase still continues in the affected areas at this moment and the access to those areas is strictly limited to rescue workers.
It is also reported that there is temporary shortage of petrol in the affected area.
International/foreign NGOs are recommended to wait until the situation improves so that those NGOs are able to conduct their activities in a self-sustainable way.

UPDATE  00:26 UTC : A private telecommunication company has offered to lend mobile phones and radios to the evacuees free of charge, as well as to provide mobile phones and service free of charge to disaster-orphans until they become 18 years old.

UPDATE  00:22 UTC :The academic year starts in April and many schools in Miyagi Prefecture are not ready to receive students. Some schools continue to serve as evacuation centers and others remain covered by debris or are yet to be repaired. Without public transport it will also be difficult for students to commute. The Board of Education in Miyagi Prefecture is considering using unused classrooms of other schools or installing prefabricated classrooms as alternative solutions.

UPDATE  00:20 UTC : A total of 20,000 hectares of agricultural land in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures has been damaged by the tsunami. This is about 100 times greater than the area damaged by the 1995 Kobe Earthquake.
Experts estimate that desalination would take more than a year.

UPDATE  00:18 UTC : A total of 786 specialists have been deployed to assess the sewage systems in the affected areas. 16 sewage treatment and pumping systems are either not functioning or damaged in Iwate, 52 in Miyagi, and 19 in Fukushima.

UPDATE  00:15 UTC : The Emergency Disaster Response Headquarters reports that an estimated 9 million meals have been delivered to evacuation centers and hospitals in the affected areas to date. Approximately 840,000 meals were delivered on 24 March.

UPDATE  00:11 UTC : The Tohoku Expressway, which was closed following the disaster, is now open to ordinary traffic.
The Government hopes this will accelerate assistance, recovery and reconstruction activities.
An increase in volunteers and NGOs working in the affected areas is expected as a result. Up until now, only authorized emergency vehicles were allowed to use the highway.
While highways and ports in the disaster affected areas have reopened, part of the bullet train service on the Tohoku Shinkasen Line is still suspended, and 55 sewage disposal plants remain non-operational.

UPDATE  00:09 UTC : Fukushima Prefecture currently accounts for about 8 percent of the total death toll.

UPDATE  00:07 UTC : In Fukushima Prefecture, the Self Defense Force says it has been unable to search for missing people due to the ongoing nuclear situation. It says it is possible that many bodies have been left behind in disaster-hit locations in the prefecture, as troops are unable to enter certain areas.

UPDATE  26/03 – 00:05 UTC : Harsh weather is still continuing in the affected areas with snow storms yesterday. The temperature has dropped to minus 6 degrees Celsius overnight and authorities in Miyagi Prefecture say the lack of fuel means they cannot use heaters. 210,000 households (516,600 people) do not have electricity and one million people are without gas.

UPDATE  23:27 UTC : The Fukushima Nuclear poser plant accident has increased radiation levels in almost half of the Fukushima prefecture and in parts of the Miyagi prefecture.
Iwati is outside the danger area.

UPDATE  23:23 UTC : A significant proportion of tsunami/earthquake deaths were elderly people

UPDATE  23:22 UTC : The shortage of fuel is still the biggest obstacle to delivering relief supplies and keeping people warm

UPDATE  23:21 UTC : 53 % of hospitals in worst affected areas are closed or running at limited capacity

UPDATE  15:02 UTC : We are sorry to publish a third UPDATE today (we are though happy that the missing have dropped a little) :
Killed : 10,102 up from 10,066
Missing : 17,053 down up from 17,452

UPDATE  14:14 UTC : A new UPDATED catdat excel sheet has just been uploaded. This is already version 11 of this very detailed damage, fatalities and injured report.

UPDATE  12:09 UTC : The main reason for the “not so severe” 4 intensity is the depth of the hypocenter which is at a depth of 40 km, thus weakening the intensity of the magnitude.

UPDATE  12:03 UTC : Japanese seismological authorities have reported a 4 JMA intensity (on a scale from 0 to 7). This is even less than some other lighter aftershocks reaching an intensity level of 5- and 5+.

UPDATE  12:02 UTC : Very heavy M 6.4 aftershock approx. 20 km from Ofunato. This aftershock can be damaging !

UPDATE  25/03 – 10:37 UTC : New Killed and Missing UPDATE from the National Police Agency of Japan :
Killed : 10,066 up from 10,035
Missing : 17,452 up from 17,443

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