Japan tsunami – Real hope that the missing people list continue to get shorter (Part 9)

This is part 9 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 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami UPDATE : Fatalities : 11,532 - Missing : 16,351 = 27,979 27,883
For an actual in-depth report on damage, fatalities, injured, etc please consult our "CATDAT Excel Sheet" , "CATDAT Graphic" , "Detailed fatalities and Missing map".

Shelter in the tsunami damaged prefectures - image courtesy denbushi.net/

UPDATE 23:40 UTC :Regardless of the on-going recovery, the fuel shortage remains a serious issue in the affected areas, exacerbated by a limited number of operational fuel stations and increasing needs. The Government plans to spend US$210 million (1.7 billion JPY) to procure of tankers and install makeshift fuel stations.

UPDATE 23:39 UTC : To date, 87.9 per cent of water has been restored to buildings and only 260,000 households in eight prefectures are still without running water. Currently 320 water trucks are deployed and 200 more will shortly deliver water to those without access to tap water.

UPDATE 23:37 UTC : Electricity has been restored by 96.3 percent in Tohoku, leaving only 180,000 households without power. Gas supplies have been restored to roughly 32 per cent of households and 340,000 households remain without.

UPDATE 23:35 UTC : The International Atomic Energy Agency says the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains very serious. The Joint FAO/IAEA Food Safety Assessment Team presented their assessment report at an interministerial meeting in Tokyo on the 31 March. Strong interest was expressed as to the remediation of agricultural land, continued possible contamination of agricultural products, and the need to maintain communication with relevant ministries in the future.

UPDATE 23:31 UTC : The Nuclear Safety Agency says radioactive material may be leaking from the damaged plant. For the first time it has been found in groundwater 15m below the plant. Radioactive material detected in the sea near the plant has been found with levels reaching 4,385 times the limit.

UPDATE 23:28 UTC : Whilst coordination challenges remain, the Government of Japan can and will cover the needs of the affected population and that, with some very specific exceptions and then only at the direct request of the Government, there is no requirement for further international assistance at this time.

UPDATE 23:25 UTC : The number of people in evacuation centers is decreasing slightly whereas the number of evacuation centers has increased by 200 in the last two days. That is because 174 have opened in Aomori Prefecture in the north. Improving the living conditions at the shelters in the worst affected areas is the biggest priority otherwise there will continue to be an increase in the number of cases of cold and hygiene-related illnesses.

UPDATE 23:23 UTC :There are currently 170,500 displaced people living in 2,230 evacuation centres in 17 prefectures.

UPDATE 23:21 UTC : Latest assessments report that 16,950 homes and buildings were destroyed and another 138,000 were damaged. At least 2,126 roads, 56 bridges and 26 railways have been destroyed.

UPDATE 23:19 UTC : Most of sewage systems in the affected area are still not functioning.

UPDATE 23:17 UTC : The vast majority of key infrastructure such as highways, ports and airports has been restored and there have been improvements in electricity, gas and water supply, but in the worst affected areas it could take some time before these vital services are up and running.

UPDATE 23:15 UTC : Today, Japan’s Self Defense Force and the US military have launched a three-day joint operation to recover the bodies of people still unaccounted for in the coastal areas of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima. The operation does not
include the 20 km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant where there are believed there could be a significant number of bodies.

UPDATE 18:05 UTC : Overview of the Socio-Economic effects of the massive Tohoku / Sendai / Honshu earthquake and tsunami from March 11 2011. This post includes the graphics of the following subjects : Casualties, Shelter estimates, Earthquake Loss estimates, The worst 39 towns and cities affected in the Tohoku region, How does this loss compare to past worldwide events ?  Click here for the very detailed poster.

UPDATE 01/04 - 12:20 UTC :
M 5.9      2011/04/01 11:57     Depth 38.1 km      EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
08:57:54 PM at epicenter
UPDATE 12:30 UTC : max. JMA intensity : 4 (normally harmless)
Very strong aftershock at an intermediate depth approx. 15 km from Kamaishi and 16 km E Otsuchi (pop 16,497).
The intermediate depth weakened the felt experience of the shaking considerably.
81 km (50 miles) ESE of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
695,000 people have experienced a moderate shaking (USGS data)
Satellite map of the greater epicenter area

UPDATE 01/04 - 11:30 UTC :
M 5.0      2011/04/01 10:49     Depth 49.9 km      EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN
07:49:50 PM at epicenter
UPDATE 11:32 UTC : This earthquake, although moderate in magnitude, has been felt as a JMA 5+ in Akita-ken Nairiku-hokubu (JMA scale 0-7)
Earthquake at an intermediate depth below the northern part of Honshu.
20 km NE Noshiro (pop 51,079) and 38 km SW Hirosaki (pop 174,972)
66 km (41 miles) N of Akita, Honshu, Japan and 72 km (44 miles) SW of Aomori, Honshu, Japan
Satellite map of the greater epicenter area

UPDATE 16:05 UTC : A new update (version 14) of our CATDAT spreadsheet has been published. It contains all available damage, fatalities, injured etc statistics per location and prefecture.
Click here to see version 14 of our in-depth damage and casualties file.

UPDATE 13:10 UTC : Japanese authorities have published their latest report from the day at 9 PM local time with the following numbers :
Fatalities : 11,532 up from 11,438 # 94
Missing : 16,351 down from 16,541 # 190

UPDATE 12:30 UTC : New death and missing toll statistics : 11,438 are confirmed killed and 16,541 are listed to be missing. We are very sorry to report once again that the numbers of both categories are climbing again. This means that the number of assumed killed has increased with 378 people compared to our last reporting.

UPDATE 31/03 - 07:42 UTC : Very strong aftershock
M 6.2      2011/03/31 07:13   Depth 40.0 km     NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

local time 16:15
UPDATE 07:42 UTC : GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries
UPDATE 07:36 UTC : JMA intensity is max. -5  (strong but normally not damaging)
Strong earthquake at an intermediate depth (which weakens the shaking) close to the coast.
30 km E Ofunato (pop 35,418) and 89 km NE Ishinomaki (pop 117,233)
Satellite map of the greater epicenter area

UPDATE 18:13 UTC : The International Atomic Energy Agency says the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains very serious.

UPDATE 18:11 UTC : Radioactive water found in and outside reactor buildings is delaying work to restore cooling functions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. New readings from a sample of sea water found radioactive iodine at 3,355 times the legal limit.

UPDATE 17:59 UTC : The temperature dropped below zero in many coastal towns today and there was snowfall in the afternoon.

UPDATE 17:57 UTC : Prime Minister Naoto Kan is planning to visit Rikuzen-takata in Iwate Prefecture on 2 April.

UPDATE 17:52 UTC : Water availability has improved by about 25 per cent in the last few days. Currently, 372,000 households (913,000 people) are still without water in nine prefectures.

UPDATE 17:49 UTC : An estimated 190,000 households (492,000 people) remain without electricity. Another 330,000 households (936,000 people) are without gas supplies.

UPDATE 17:43 UTC : Roads in the affected cities and towns are still damaged or blocked with debris and this is hampering the delivery of aid to the many smaller evacuation centres. Relief items are being delivered on foot in some places.

UPDATE 17:27 UTC : 15 ports and most airports are now open. Railway lines are still under repair. Express buses are carrying 4,400 people per day into and out of the region which is more than twice as many passengers than before the disaster.

UPDATE 17:25 UTC : 90 per cent of the Tohoku region’s main land, sea and air routes are open. More than 37,200 vehicles are now passing through the Tohoku Expressway per day, which is 1.3 times more traffic than before the disaster struck.

UPDATE 17:23 UTC : Earthquake-Report.com/org is honoring OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Celebrating 20 years of coordinated humanitarian action

UPDATE 17:04 UTC : Fukushima prefecture : Local media say that about 50 people remain in the 20 km evacuation zone and more than 1,500 people are missing. An additional 10,000 to 20,000 people are still within the 20 to 30 km evacuation zone, the majority of who are in Minami-soma City. Some have opted to stay behind with elderly family members or because they are
dairy farmers and many more have returned home after weeks of prolonged evacuation.

UPDATE 16:52 UTC : The number of evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture has dropped significantly due to some double counting. There are now 30,093 Fukushima evacuees as opposed to 85,085 last reported.

UPDATE 16:11 UTC : A large number of evacuees are opposing a transfer to other shelters and want to stay where they are, even in poor conditions, as many of them are still looking for family members.

UPDATE 16:05 UTC : Minamisanriku-town in Miyagi Prefecture has plans to relocate some of its evacuees to other prefectures due to poor sanitation conditions.

UPDATE 15:58 UTC : Authorities are trying to consolidate the number of evacuation centers and move people into bigger  shelters in order to provide a more efficient and sustainable way of providing assistance. Another reason to move people into bigger shelters is that schools  should be empty in time for the academic year, which begins in April.

UPDATE 15:24 UTC : On top of those people living in the evacuation centers, there are thousands that are living in their cars and who have returned to their homes even though there is no electricity or water.

UPDATE 15:22 UTC : In the three worst affected prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima146,628 evacuees are living in some 1,245 evacuation centers.

UPDATE 15:20 UTC : 173,200 people are living in more than 2,000 evacuation centers in 17 prefectures mostly in the north of Japan.

UPDATE 14:46 UTC : Todays casualty figures are as follows :
Fatalities : 11,257 up from 11,102 # 155
Missing : 16,344 down from 16,493 # 149

UPDATE 00:46 UTC : The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's thoughts are with the people of Japan in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. On March 23, 2011, the foundation provided a $1 million grant to Mercy Corps to provide emergency response to earthquake and tsunami-affected communities.

UPDATE 00:45 UTC : China's 10,000 ton of gasoline and 10,000-ton of diesel as free emergency assistance to the Japanese government were shipped at Port of Dalian at noon of March 29, and will be arrived in Port of Etajima in Hiroshima on April 1 and Port of Namikata in Ehime on April 2 respectively.

UPDATE 30/03 - 00:43 UTC : Plan International's aid response in Japan continues with the distribution of 'family kits' at relief centers in the worst affected cities of Ishinomaki and Tagajo in Miyagi prefecture on Sunday. A kit contains items such as soap, towel, toothbrush, crayons, underwear etc to meet basic needs of families living in evacuation centers.

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 # +201
Missing : 16,493 down from 17,649 # -1,156
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

Click here for part one - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8

Radioactive water found in and outside reactor buildings is delaying work to restore cooling functions of the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has reached a
much higher level of radiation than previously reported. New readings from a sample of sea water found
radioactive iodine at 3,355 times the legal limit. Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency says this does not pose a
health risk. The Government says it is expected to take a considerable amount of time before the
temperatures of fuel rods in the reactor cores at the power station are lowered to a stable state.