President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Tadateru Konoe walks among rescue workers searching through rubble in residential area of tsunami-hit Otsuchi. (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters)
The impact of Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami is now apparent. With search and rescue personnel now reaching some of the communities in the northeastern region of Tohoku, the devastation along the eastern coast is complete. Entire villages are in ruin, roads and bridges broken and impassible, and thousands remain stranded in isolated schools and buildings where they managed to retreat in the face of the tsunami.
The human toll is tremendous. The confirmed death toll has reached 1,834, but over 15,000 remain unaccounted for three days after the Great Tohoku Earthquake. Over 450,000 have safely evacuated, but many are without water or food. Temperatures in the chilly northeast have dipped below freezing, and many are without heating or blankets. Telephone service is starting to be restored, but water and food are hard to come by. Japanese television on Monday captured heartbreaking stories of those who survived and the long lists being compiled by local shelters of those who are searching for separated family members.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the nation on Saturday that this was the worst crisis Japan has faced since the devastation of World War II, and asked every person in Japan to contribute to the effort to recover. The Japanese government has displayed remarkable calm in the face of this tremendous catastrophe, and from the beginning launched an all-out and comprehensive effort to organize the country in the face of catastrophe. Read more »