Japan earthquake and tsunami toll now more than 16 000
MANILA, 18 March 2011—The toll of dead and missing in Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster rose past the 16 000 mark as authorities continued their struggle to tame problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Official figures said 6406 people were confirmed dead, with more than 10 259 missing and 2409 injured. These figures are expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue. Some media were reporting more than 15 000 estimated deaths.
About 383 000 people have been evacuated. A small number of influenza-like illnesses and gastroenteritis cases have been reported in evacuation centres, where wintry conditions are making conditions miserable. Thousands of rescue workers, including police officers and self-defence forces personnel, are continuing to scour affected areas. So far, they are believed to have reached 26 000 survivors.
At the Daiichi plant, fire trucks resumed their efforts to inject water into reactor No. 3, while engineers struggled to reconnect external power to reactor No. 2, which was the least damaged in the 11 March earthquake and ensuing tsunami.