Search for survivors
Shirakawa, Japan (CNN) — Rescuers plucked dazed survivors from collapsed homes, muddy waters and raging fires today, a day after a powerful earthquake tore through northeastern Japan, unleashing waves that swallowed entire neighbourhoods along the coast.
More than 900 people were killed and about 700 were missing, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported. The number of dead is expected to rise as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.
In the town of Minamisanriku, 9,500 people are unaccounted for, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported, citing local officials. That figure is about half the population of the town, which is located on the Pacific, the news agency said.
More than 3,000 people had been rescued, according to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Kyodo News Agency said.
“We’d first like to focus on saving lives and secondly the comfort of the evacuees,” Kan said. “There will be many resources that will be needed for this evacuation process.”
Friday’s 8.9-magnitude quake was centered about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Sendai, a farming region already battling youth population losses to big cities, leaving aging residents struggling to keep up with the global economy.
Aftershocks continued to jolt the island nation Saturday, including two at 6.1 and 6.4 magnitude.