Japan tsunami - coping with the aftermath and hoping on a better future

This is part 10 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 - Part 9

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami UPDATE (05/04 - 4 pm Japan time)  : Fatalities : 12,344 - Missing : 15,237

Important intermediate note on the Missing statistics (04/04 - 04:30 UTC)
It should be noted that as of the last 2 reports from Miyagi prefecture, they have moved the "missing" counts to unknown in Matsushima Azuma City (predicted 600), Sendai (predicted 200), Hazime Matiyama (predicted 500), Minami Sanriku (predicted 824 to 3000). Thus the missing count is more likely between 2100 and 5100 people higher than the above figure of 15496. Sorry for the bad news, but there is a lot of error ridden reporting going around the world, so we thought that we would clear up that for everyone. Until Miyagi prefecture puts numbers on the missing in these towns, we will keep this note in place. Thus, there are 12,157 dead and between 17596 and 20596 missing .

For an in-depth report on damage, fatalities, injured, etc please consult our links in the latest part of this series

As this article was getting too lengthy, we started a new one - Click here to view it

UPDATE 05/04 - 17:37 UTC : The emergency brakes on the Shinkansen bullet trains were activated seconds before the March 11th earthquake, thanks to its early detection system. All the Shinkansen stopped without derailing when seismographs installed on the railway traks detected a seismic wave and did cut instantly power to the trains.

UPDATE 05/04 - 17:27 UTC : A hardening agent has been injected  beneath a leaking concrete pit in one of the reactor buildings in the Fukushima nuclear plant, this in a bid to stem the flow of highly radioactive water into the sea. The firm says the leakage seems to be decreasing, following the infusion of the hardening agent proving this with a picture from before and after the injection.

UPDATE 05/04 - 17:04 UTC : The Government of Brunei Darussalam informed on April 4 that the Government will provide relief money of 1 million U.S. dollars (approximately 80 million yen). From Brunei, letters of sympathy were sent from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, and His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, among others.

UPDATE 05/04 - 16:59 UTC : AmeriCares emergency airlift of medical aid arrived in Tokyo on Monday, April 4.
The shipment, valued at more than $525,000 will be received by AmeriCares partner, the Tohoku University Hospital.
The shipment consists of :
* Antibiotics to treat 519 adults and children with acute bacterial infections
* 630 course treatments of IV solutions
* Pain medicines to treat 480 people for one month
* 2,000 course treatments of anesthetics
* Sutures for as many as 2,510 procedures
* 859,458 units of bandages and wound dressings
* 11,460 masks
* 18,812 syringes
* An assortment of gloves, soap, hygiene kits, and flashlights

UPDATE 05/04 - 16:50 UTC : On 4 April a fifth shipment of European in-kind assistance was sent to Japan, composed of 26 tons of food, tents, sleeping bags, clothes, gloves and rubber boots. The relief goods will be distributed in Miyagi prefecture. The EU Civil Protection team will coordinate the logistics. 4 other European shipments of relief items and bottled water have been sent to Japan in the past days.
To date, over 380 tons of relief items have been delivered to Japan by the European Civil Protection Mechanism after the disaster of 11 March.

UPDATE 05/04 - 16:39 UTC : The medical teams of the Japanese Red Cross Society gather each morning to receive their missions and destinations for the day. They have traveled from across Japan to help in those living areas that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.
In the first three weeks since this double disaster, more than 484 Red Cross medical teams, involving about 3,000 doctors, nurses and support staff, have been deployed in the affected prefectures.
If you want to read the full article of the Japan Red Cross Aid action : Click here

UPDATE 05/04 - 08:18 UTC : Iran announced to provide relief supplies of foodstuffs (50,000 food cans), 35,000 cans of which were sent to the disaster-stricken area on Friday March 25.  The rest of 15,000 cans arrived at Narita Airport on Thursday March 31 and were sent to the disaster-stricken area on Friday, April 1. The Government of Japan deeply appreciates the cooperation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

UPDATE 05/04 - 08:08 UTC :
New casualty update from the National Police Agency of Japan on April 5 at 4 PM (16:00) local Japanese time :
Fatalities : 12,344
Missing : 15,237

UPDATE 05/04 - 07:50 UTC : A flight loaded with relief supplies from the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) did arrive at Iwate Hanamaki Airport April 4. the relief supplies consists of 20,000 masks, 20,000 soaps, 3,500 pairs of gloves and 2,800 portions of instant pilaf (worth about JPY 24,000,000). These relief supplies are planned to be distributed in Iwate Prefecture. Prior to this shipment, the Government of ROK has already provided disaster-stricken areas with relief supplies such as food and water.

UPDATE 23:20 UTC : the Government of the Republic of Finland announced that the Government will provide relief money of 500,000 euro (about 57.5 million yen) through the Finnish Red Cross.

UPDATE 23:18 UTC : The Government of the Sultanate of Oman offered a donation of 10 million US dollars to the Japanese Red Cross Society in response to the Tohoku - Pacific Ocean Earthquake.

UPDATE 23:02 UTC : Some 10,000 people in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma cities, Miyagi prefecture, have received food, water, hygiene items, fuel and other emergency items, thanks to Church World Service in Japan.

UPDATE 22:59 UTC : Seawater is monitored by TEPCO near the discharge points of Daiichi and Daiini plants. For Daiichi Units 1 - 4, seawater is monitored 330 m south of the common discharge point; for Daiichi Units 5 and 6 seawater is sampled 30 m south of the common discharge point.

UPDATE 22:55 UTC : The European Commission has just adopted a new humanitarian funding decision of €10 million, to help the Japanese population cope with the massive consequences of the twin disaster. This boosts the European Union's (Member States and Commission) aid to earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan to more than €15 million. The new funding will provide assistance to more than 30,000 people, who live in temporary shelters and rely on aid for food, water, blankets and mattresses and other immediate provisions.

UPDATE 22:51 UTC : Map of sites where rescue teams from foreign countries, regions, and international organizations are operating (31 Mar 2011). Click here to navigate to the map.

UPDATE 16:58 UTC : A dog which has been rescued at sea off the coast of Kesennuma, Japan, was reunited with the owner on Monday more than three weeks after being washed away by the killer tsunami. Japanese broadcaster NTV aired images of the reunion with the woman hugging Ban and the dog warmly wagging her tail. The dog was rescued on Friday after being found drifting on a roof.

UPDATE 16:50 UTC : 100 people living in the strictly forbidden and MUST evacuation zone near the Fukushima nuclear plant are refusing to move to the evacuation shelters. Many of these people are not staying inside and are not obeying the orders of the Japan Self Defense forces. Mostly the reason is very personal and differs from person to person. Somebody refused to leave because he does not want to abandon his dog. Older people are mostly saying that they do not have a long time to live anyway.

UPDATE 10:46 UTC : 11,500 tons of light radioactive water will be purged in the Ocean.  Other highly radioactive water is contained in containers.  The water was used to cool the reactors.

UPDATE 08:46 UTC : Farmers in Iwaki City have to stop selling "shiitake" after a tested sample of the mushrooms proved to contain radioactive substances exceeding the legal limit.
The Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries, as well as being dried and exported to many countries around the world.
It is a feature in many Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai.
In the East, the shiitake mushroom has long been considered a delicacy as well as a medicinal mushroom. (source Wikipedia)

UPDATE 08:43 UTC : Unless all the dramatic reporting on the radioactivity in the world press, the Japanese authorities are stating that the radiation levels stabilized or dropped again in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear plant.

UPDATE 04/04 - 08:37 UTC : NISE, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that the recovery of the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is needed to stop the leakage of radioactive substances. Such a work will probably take several months.

UPDATE 22:40 UTC : A new CATDAT excel damage overview sheet has been published (version 16)

UPDATE 17:10 UTC : A 3 day USA-Japan joint SAR (Search and Rescue)  operation has ended on Sunday. The mainly "search operation" has tried to find as many corpses as possible as thousands of people still missing have been probably swept in the ocean.  25,000 troops have been participated at the operation. The Japan Coast Guard and police also took part in the operation.
A total of 78 bodies have been found.

UPDATE 16:28 UTC : Japanese scientists have investigated the height of the tsunami waves in Miyagi city.  They found out that the tsunami waves measured 37.9 meters 200 meter inland. The scientists are not excluding even higher waves in other coastal towns. The height of the waves is similar to the devastating waves from the 1896 tsunami. (tsunami waves can vary a lot due to the form of the coastal seabed).

UPDATE 16:23 UTC : The Japanese government has said that an independent investigation group will have to be formed to exactly analyze what went wrong. The inquiry may in no way hamper the ongoing efforts to bring the different problematic units under control.

UPDATE 16:20 UTC : While there is still leaking highly radioactive water from the Fukushima Nuclear plan in the sea, the radiation levels on the ground are stabilizing or even decreasing.

UPDATE 16:00 UTC : A total of 190,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  This number includes the total destruction of 29,500 in Miyagi, 12,500 in Iwate and 2,400 in Fukushima. In total 3,200 buildings were destroyed in 6 other prefectures.

UPDATE 16:00 UTC : The seabed at the 450 km long faulting zone did rise 5 meter due to the massive earthquake. Immense water quantities were lifted and are the main reason why the coastal area was devastated. The tsunami became even more powerful when the waves arrived in coastal areas with a lesser depth.

UPDATE 15:50 UTC : IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (3 April 2011, 12:00 UTC)
Overall at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the situation remains very serious.
A second US Navy barge arrived on 2 April carrying fresh water to be transferred to the "filtered water tank".
TEPCO had been investigating two employees who had been missing since the earthquake of 11 March. On 2 April NISA reported that on the afternoon of 30 March the two employees were found dead in the -1 Level of the Turbine Building of Unit 4.

UPDATE 03/04 - 11:38 UTC : As predicted a couple of days ago by earthquake-report, we see a new decline in the overall number of alleged killed people.
New casualty update from the National Police Agency of Japan on April 3 at 8 PM (20:00) local Japanese time :
Fatalities : 12,087 up from 11,532 # 555
Missing : 15,552 down from 16,351 # 799

Updates from April 1 (can also be read in part 9)
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.

Click here for part one - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9

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.