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March 16 - 22 2011 No. 1025
THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph telegraph.co.uk/expat
THESLAM IS ON England see off Scotland to set up Dublin finale
:: SPORT PAGE 48
By Gordon Rayner and Harry Wallop JAPAN was in a race to prevent a humanitarian disaster this week as rescuers struggled to reach tens of thousands of people left homeless by the tsunami.
The world’s third richest country was forced to send out an urgent international appeal for tents, blankets and other lifesaving supplies to prevent the death toll rising beyond the current estimate of 10,000.
With night-time temperatures dropping below zero in some of the isolated towns and villages worstaffected by the disaster, charities warned that further lives could be lost if survivors were not given food and shelter quickly.
On Sunday night 590,000 people, many of whom have lost their homes, were living in temporary shelters, including 210,000 people moved from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered one explosion in a reactor building at the weekend and a second on Monday.
Radiation levels were still rising at the plant and officials admitted that a second reactor could explode. A state of emergency was also declared at a separate site in Onagawa because of unusually high levels of radioactivity, while engineers reported problems with the cooling system at a third site in Tokai.
Although the official death toll stood at 1,596, the true scale of the tragedy remained unclear, with tens of thousands of people — including hundreds of Britons — still unaccounted for.
In one town alone, the port of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture, 9,500 people out of a total population of 17,000 were missing.
Seismologists on Sunday upgraded the size of the “superquake” from 8.9-magnitude to 9.0, meaning it was twice as powerful as originally thought.
Naoto Kan, Japan’s prime minister, said the country was experiencing its worst crisis since the Second World War as it struggled to cope with the aftermath of Friday’s tsunami on several fronts.
As well as the overwhelming scale of the relief effort along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline, and the battle to avert a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant, there were fears that Japan could be tipped back into recession, with the cost of the disaster expected to run into tens of billions of pounds. The most pressing problem was the need to avert the humanitarian crisis, as 1.4 million people remained without water. Thousands more were thought to be
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Residents try to comprehend the scale of the damage done by the tsunami to the town of Sendai