The confirmed death toll from Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan has jumped to 3,771 and 7,843 people remained missing as of 2 p.m. (0500 GMT) on Wednesday, the government announced.
Among the victims, seven people were killed in Tokyo, according to the National Police Agency, 1,816 deaths have been confirmed in the hardest-hit Miyagi Prefecture alone, while 1,391 people were killed in neighboring Iwate Prefecture.
The death toll is expected to rise as the chances of recovering survivors from the rubble had diminished six days after the massive quake and a full-scale operation of recovering bodies mainly in the tsunami-hit coastal areas began.
In addition, the fate of around 8,000 residents in Otsuchi Town (450 km north of Tokyo), 8,000 others in Minamisanriku Town (360 km north of Tokyo) as well as 5,000 in Onagawa Town (340 km north of Tokyo) remains unknown. According to the Foreign Ministry, about 500 foreigners are also missing.
Some 25,460 people have been rescued so far by troops, police, firefighters, and the Coast Guard. Over 440,000 people are in 2,400 shelters in northeastern regions as of Wednesday afternoon, and some shelters have no food, water, and other essential supplies.
Meanwhile, the government decided to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) reserve personnel for disaster relief operations. Local governments and companies across Japan will deliver goods to collection points at SDF bases and stations, and the SDF will deliver the goods via helicopters and ships.
Individuals can also take goods to the nearest municipal government.