Nearly half a million now evacuated from Japan's stricken zone

News release

MANILA, 16 March 2011—Near-freezing temperatures, accompanied by snow, brought extra misery today to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power station crisis in north-east Japan.

Latest figures suggest that about 440 000 people have been evacuated, with more than 23 300 still seeking shelter. The death toll was put at about 3570, with nearly 2000 injured and some 7600 missing. The number of casualties is expected to increase as search and rescue operations reach cut-off areas. Some media reports put the number of dead at 15 000.

Reports said some hospitals were struggling with limited electrical power, a shortage of medicines and a lack of other resources.