Japan's tsunami death toll expected to reach 20,000
Figure is number of people missing in two coastal cities alone
Survivors bury the dead in northeastern Japan, where a massive earthquake and tsunami pulverized communities as far as six miles inland last week. The death toll is expected to reach at least 20,000, as this is the number of people who remain unaccounted for in two coastal towns - alone.
In the three days since an offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coastline, the island has suffered hundreds of aftershocks, with experts expecting more over the next several weeks.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hundreds of bodies have washed ashore in the hard-hit city of Sendai. At the southern end of the island, the Shinmoedake volcano started erupting again after several quiet weeks.
According to newspaper reports, about 10,000 people are missing from Minami-Sanrikucho and Otsuchicho. The missing in the first town comprises more than half the 17,000 residents. Among the missing in the latter is the mayor.
(Japan Earthquake Appeal: Help those affected by the earthquake in Japan. We are accepting donations to support our online support efforts in Japan and worldwide. Please donate to help survivors of this emergency. Click Here to Donate - https://www.catholic.org/donation/ )
There are fewer than 2,000 officially confirmed dead. But people on the ground expect there to be many, many more.
The police chief of Miyagi prefecture says that the number of deaths from the earthquake would "no doubt be tens of thousands" in the prefecture. Japan has 47 prefectures.
In the Wakabayashi ward of Sendai, 200 to 300 bodies were recently found on beaches.
"Our country faces its worst crisis since the end of the war 65 years ago," Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo on Sunday. "I'm convinced that working together with all our might the Japanese people can overcome this."
The State Department has declared that U.S. citizens, including government workers on non-essential business, "should avoid travel to Japan at this time." In the three days since an offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coastline, the island has suffered hundreds of aftershocks, with experts expecting more over the next several weeks.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. says that power was out at about 1.8 million households. The government's health, labor and welfare ministry said at least 1.4 million households in 16 prefectures had disrupted water supplies.
Reuters reported that Naohiro Hoshina, a 47-year-old worker with a shipping company outside Tokyo, was unhappy that the earthquake had affected cell phone service "Isn't the basic point of having a mobile phone to make phone calls?" he asked.
The Associated Press reported that a 60-year-old man swept away by the tsunami was rescued after clinging to the roof of a house for two days. He was spotted by a military vessel as he waved a red cloth.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Japan, tsunami, earthquake, death toll
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