Japan : Continuing strong aftershocks are hitting the greater quake area (Part 4)

This is part 4 of our ongoing story on the massive 8.9 earthquake / tsunami which struck Japan on March 11 2011.
Click here for part one
Click here for part two Click here for part 3

NOAA March 11 earthquake Tsunami map

UPDATE 22:07 UTC : Nearly 600,000 people have been temporarely  relocated in 2,000 shelters

UPDATE 21:51 UTC : Total insured loss could be up to $15 billion, equity analysts covering the industry say. Disaster-modelling company AIR Worldwide estimates the insured losses from the Japan earthquake at between $14.5 billion and $34.6 billion.
The estimate from AIR Worldwide of insured losses points to the CATDAT estimate of over $100 billion USD total loss being reasonable. With likely more indirect losses.

UPDATE 21:49 UTC : Toyota Motor Co to suspend operations at all 12 factories today.

UPDATE 21:22 UTC : The Bank of Japan will hold a policy meeting today. It has vowed to provide ample liquidity to financial system. It has extended a total of 55 billion yen to 13 financial institutions in the quake-struck north-east of Japan since Saturday.

UPDATE 21:20 UTC : The earthquake triggered a tsunami up to 10 meters. Waves swept away homes, crops, vehicles and submerged farmland.

UPDATE 21:16 UTC : Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have risen above the safety limit but says this posed no "immediate threat" to human health. An explosion blew the roof off at reactor No. 1.
Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano says there is the risk of an explosion at another building housing the No. 3 reactor, although this is unlikely to affect the reactor's core container.
Authorities have set up a 20km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and a 10km zone around another nuclear facility close by.
About 350,000 people evacuated nationwide and almost 2 million households are still without power - with possibly more.
The Nuclear safety agency rates the incident a 4 on the 1 to 7 International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, less serious than Three Mile Island, which was a 5, and Chernobyl at 7.

UPDATE 21:13 UTC : France recommends its citizens leave the Kanto region that includes Tokyo and six other prefectures in its vicinity, citing the risk of further earthquakes and uncertainty about the situation at its damaged nuclear plants.

UPDATE 21:11 UTC : Death toll expected to exceed 10,000 from the quake and tsunami.
TBS has given the total of 2000 killed, with 1900 additional missing at least.
Strong aftershocks persisting in the stricken area.

UPDATE 18:28 UTC : 2500 tourists visiting the hardest hit tsunami and earthquakes areas are still unaccounted for.  1600 tourists have been confirmed as safe. Among the missing, mainly Japanese tourists but also people from many other countries.

UPDATE 18:16 UTC : The official death toll continues to rise.  The number of fatalities has been increased from 1,300 to 1,500.

UPDATE 18:11 UTC : Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called  to prepare for sacrifice and to work together in overcoming the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. It will take a long time before the Japanese society will be back to normal.

UPDATE 17:45 UTC : Due to the accidents in a number of nuclear power plants, the government of Japan has allowed the power operator to organize wide scale power cuts.
The phased suspensions will cover the region served by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) which includes Tokyo, excluding the central area, and the prefectures of Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Tochigi, Saitama, Yamanashi and part of Shizuoka. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima No 1 plant, says the outages will last until the end of April, Kyodo News reported.

UPDATE 17:24 UTC : Very high levels of radiation have been recorded at a second Japanese nuclear plant at Onagawa. Local authorities have declared the state of emergency.

UPDATE 16:49 UTC : 80,000 people living near the Fukushima Nuclear Plants will be told to evacuate.
The vacation plans cover 10 cities and towns near the nuclear plants including Minamisouma-city.  62,000 people have already evacuated.

UPDATE 16:38 UTC : A Japanese naval vessel rescued a man swept away by tsunami waves off Fukushima Prefecture.
He was rescued 45 hours after the tsunami. The ships where searching for survivors about 15 kilometers off Futaba Town. He was waving his hands and drifting on a broken roof.
The 60-year-old survivor is Hiromitsu Shinkawa, of Minami Soma city, Fukushima. He has been temporarily hospitalized but has no major injuries.
Shinkawa told officials he was swept away along with his house when he returned home briefly to collect personal items. He says he does not know the whereabouts of his wife, with whom he evacuated earlier.

UPDATE 16:31 UTC : More than 1,300 people are confirmed dead from the devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit northeastern Japan on Friday.

UPDATE 09:13 UTC : 33 aftershocks of +4.5 since midnight UTC. Strongest M 6.2.
The magnitude and the number are slowly decreasing.
Total area has proved to be unstable and people living in the area can expect sudden uprises.
The fault zone is 500 km long and 200 km large. Magnitude upgraded after recalculation to 9.0

UPDATE 09:07 UTC : About 380,000 people have evacuated their homes in northeastern Japan after a major earthquake shook the region on Friday.

UPDATE 07:32 UTC :
The earthquake has been updated to a magnitude 9.0 given the 500kmx200km fault rupture zone. More here. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20110313/t10014640551000.html

UPDATE 07:30 UTC :
The death toll from the earthquake has climbed to more than 2,800 people and this also includes the missing according to TBS. In Miyagi Prefecture, southern Sanriku people do not know the fate of about 10,000 inhabitants.
In addition, in Miyagi, 1.78 million households are still without power.
At least 350,000 people have been evacuated.
There are currently 100,000 relief and defence forces helping with rescue and support work.

UPDATE 07:16 UTC : Chief of Police, Takeuti Naoto, Miyagi, in a meeting held at County Headquarters for Prefecture Disaster Control stated that the number of people killed by the tsunami and earthquake in Miyagi prefecture, will be nearly 10000 , " he said. This shows that more than 10,000 expected deaths would occur. The chief Takeuchi, unveiled that it has accommodated the remains of 379 people in the province by noon Wednesday. This would be the greatest loss of life in a developed nation from an earthquake, exceeding Kobe in 1995.

UPDATE 02:13 UTC : 145 aftershocks of Magnitude 4.5 or stronger did hit the the Japanese coast in the last 25 hours. A few minutes ago another heavy aftershock of 6.2 has shaken the area. 9 of these aftershocks were Magnitude 6 or higher !

UPDATE 01:53 UTC : Tsunami surges wreaked havoc at three Hawaii small-boat harborsyesterday, damaging about 200 boats and causing an estimated $500,000 in damage at one harbor alone.

UPDATE 01:35 UTC : Mexico reported waves up to 70 centimetres above normal but no damage or victims.

UPDATE 01:30 UTC : Based on scattered reports from different not earlier mentioned villages and small towns, the death toll will probably climb to several thousand.

UPDATE 01:20 UTC : According to TEPCO, 310000 households were still without electricity in the Kanto region .

UPDATE 01:14 UTC : The famous Japanese high speed bullet train is operating almost as usual, only slowing down a little in some parts of the country. Tokyo metropolitan transport is also regaining normal operations.

UPDATE 01:03 UTC : In Ecuador, president Rafael Correa reported "minimum damage" from the tsunami and no casualties. On the Galapagos Islands, the coastal city of San Cristobal was flooded by the surging water from the Pacific.

UPDATE 01:01 UTC : In the town of Pueblo Nuevo de Colan, Piura, Peru, the ocean withdrew 200 meters from the beach before returning with force and destroying several seaside homes.
In the port of Pisco the ocean surged into the town square and damaged about 300 houses.

UPDATE 00:53 UTC : Chalets on Chile's coast were damaged and some small boats were swept away when the tsunamis intensified. Damage was however limited.

UPDATE 00:52 UTC : The tsunami generated swells but no major waves on Chile's remote Easter Island in the South Pacific .

UPDATE 00:46 UTC : The main reason why tsunami wave heights are difficult to predict is that they are amplified by an irregular shoreline. 2 coastal locations close to each other may have totally different tsunamis.

UPDATE 00:34 UTC : The Japanese government did rate the accident at the Fukushima power plant at level 4 on an international scale of 0 to 7.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that fuel in the reactor partially melted. It's the first such accident in Japan.  A level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiologocal Event Scale includes damage to fuel and release of significant quantities of radioactive material within an installation.
It's the same level as a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, in 1999. The agency called the accident very regrettable even though it was triggered by an earthquake.

UPDATE 00:30 UTC : A South Korean SAR (Search and Rescue team) has arrived in Hameda earlier today.

UPDATE 13/03 - 00:20 UTC : We have still 2 people in Japan who did send us a HELP ME message on our QuakeSOS iPhone application.
Mr. Mazool Deen
and Mr. Cesar Oshiro
All other HELP ME signals have been proved to be safe.

UPDATE 23:15 UTC : May we ask our QuakeSOS iPhone application users to NOT PLAY with the HELP ME button anymore. In order to test the system, we have created the Test buttons.

UPDATE 23:08 UTC : Today alone (March 12 UTC), 6 aftershocks greater tha M. 6.0 have been recorded.

M 6.3  2011/03/12 22:12  Depth 14.3     NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
March 13, 2011 at 07:12:46 AM at epicenter
Very shallow but very strong seaquake / aftershock at 115 km (71 miles) NE (54°) from Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
Satellite map of the epicenter area

UPDATE 22:40 UTC : Tsunami waves did strike the beaches of the western United States, Middle and South America, leaving at least 1 missing.
NOAA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a tsunami measuring over 2.4 meters high was recorded on northern California nearly 11 hours after the quake.
The tsunami off the US west coast swept away 7 people.
Six were rescued, but one man is missing. Boats, fisherman ships and ports in California were severely damaged.
Jerry Brown has declared the state of emergency in parts of the state.
A tsunami wave of more than 1 meter reached the Pacific side of Mexico.
In Chile, an 85-centimeter tsunami was registered at the northern port city of Caldera, almost a day after Friday's massive jolt.

UPDATE 20:27 UTC :
The Japanese PM has stated that 3000 people have been rescued so far.

UPDATE 20:15 UTC :
TBS has the following count: with 990 people dead so far, and the total has climbed to more than 1,700 missing persons. This does not include Minami Sanriku.

The FDMA has confirmed 389 deaths, 627 missing and 1928 injured. However, this does not include the following:-

Around 9,500 people are unaccounted for in the Japanese port town of Minamisanriku in quake-hit Miyagi prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said.

NHK says the 9,500 missing people make up more than half of the population of roughly 17,000 in the town on the Pacific coast.

Authorities have so far confirmed that around 7,500 people in the town were evacuated to 25 shelters after Friday's quake, but they have been unable to contact the other 10,000.

Currently, the FDMA has confirmed the following damage.
property damage (2,229 houses destroyed, 1,016 partially destroyed houses, 15,125 houses partially damaged)
In addition, the following: Fukushima â‘ : Iwaki City, many buildings collapsed elsewhere in the building collapse in Fukushima
In Gunma â‘¡: Maebashi, damage and destruction of the city of Kiryu City, Midori is being reviewed
Chiba â‘¢: collapsed buildings in the city of Narita

UPDATE 20:01 UTC :
210000 people have been evacuated.

Here is the evacuation status for the region from FDMA Situation Report :
Hokkaido: 21 municipalities targeted 16,995 families displaced 34,874 people directions 15 municipalities targeted 19,515 families evacuate 47,569 people.
The number of people evacuated = 6,810

Aomori: open shelters in 27 municipalities (as of 13:00 in the 13,850 evacuated 12 people) Iwate: 506 names in the evacuation
Ichinoseki High Town Ootsuti Ootsuti (500)
Ootsuti Elementary School (150)
kindergarten and Midori (3 0 person) for evacuation
Miyagi: Nakano Elementary School District 250,
Sendai Miyagino during the evacuation of 300 elementary school district
Arahama Wakabayashi : The Sanriku Minami Kesennuma Beisaidoarina = 1,000, 500 in Shidugawa high school, 2,000 = elementary school Shidugawa, 50 high schools in the evacuation Kesennuma Hiroshi Mukai : Minato Junior High School 40 in the evacuation Ishinomaki Ishinomaki Fukushima: About 2,250 people evacuated due to a car Futabach poor road conditions are difficult : About 4,000 people are open to evacuate the town
Ookuma sequentially induced by 27 police cars and large buses

Fukushima: The current situation at the 16th Evacuation 12 131,665 people (7,243 people in Futabach town and in Ookuma 11,363 other people)

Ibaraki Prefecture: about 77,300 people in 40 municipalities (594 shelter locations)
06 8 municipalities evacuation instructions, evacuation eight municipalities Tochigi Prefecture, Japan: Utsunomiya 157

Chiba Area: 36,367
Goi, Ichihara 16:45 85,024 households to evacuate people - 593 municipalities in 48 shelter sites in the prefecture and therefore 47,270 people evacuated
Niigata: Niigata City, 16 people who self-evacuated, 24 people Mitsuke City
Shizuoka: Fuji City evacuation instruction All cities and towns of coastal evacuation (other than Yoshida.) 12 → ~ 50 minutes at the 13th evacuation evacuation directive clear all being released all the municipalities Mie Prefecture: evacuation instruction in five cities and towns, cities and towns in the evacuation order issued five ( evacuees at the peak of 2,247 people)

UPDATE 19:01 UTC : The town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture has piles of debris. It's estimated that half of the town's population is missing, some 9,500 people !

UPDATE 18:50 UTC : The death toll from the earthquake / tsunami has reached 1000+

UPDATE 18:47 UTC : The Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 Nuclear power plant security measures have been enlarged. Evacuation has been ordered for a radius of 2O km. 3 people have been radiated.