ISSN 2330-717X

Japan Earthquake Death Toll Now Over 6400


Japan has observed a moment of silence a week after the massive earthquake and tsunami, which has killed more than 6,400 people.

Japan’s National Police agency announced the new death toll Friday, as rescue crews worked to repair damaged roads and search for thousands still missing in the disaster-struck country.

Foreign governments are pulling their citizens out of Japan, and the U.S. State Department said the first flight carrying American evacuees lifted off Thursday.

Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy says the Taiwan-bound flight is carrying nearly 100 people, mostly family-members of U.S. officials. Another flight is due to leave Friday. The State Department has not ordered an evacuation, but is making flights available for those who wish to leave.

The United States has warned citizens about the deteriorating situation at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, and ordered Americans to stay at least 80 kilometers away.

U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday defended the recommendation of the evacuation zone even though it is far larger than the zone recommended by Japanese officials. He told reporters the U.S. decision was based on a careful scientific evaluation.

Britain, China and France are among the other foreign governments arranging transportation out of Japan for their citizens.

Meanwhile, fuel shortages, power outages and freezing weather have slowed relief efforts in Japan and dimmed hopes for finding any more survivors in the wreckage of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

Conditions are also deteriorating in shelters across the country’s northeast, where more than 300,000 people are taking refuge. Agriculture ministry officials said they are unable to get ample supplies to the shelters.

Japan’s Red Cross says hospitals and evacuation centers also are running out of medical supplies.

Many parts of Japan are experiencing rolling blackouts as the emergency tests the country’s power capacity. The government also has asked railway operators to reduce train service to lessen the strain on the electrical system.

Tokyo’s Electric Power Company said it was able to avert a much larger-scale blackout in the capital. Still, many parts of the city were dark Thursday night and many businesses remained closed to conserve power.

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