Home > General > Strong chance of a 7.0 earthquake: Japan agency

Strong chance of a 7.0 earthquake: Japan agency

While relief efforts continued Monday for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast, the country’s meteorological agency warned of the possibility of a 7.0 or higher magnitude temblor in the coming days.

According to the agency, there is a 70 per cent chance of another quake in the next three days and a 50 per cent chance of another hitting three days after that because of high tectonic activity.

Meanwhile, the country is racing to prevent a humanitarian disaster as rescue workers struggle to reach tens of thousands of people left homeless by the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

Japanese officials raised the estimated death toll to more than 10,000 Sunday, as hundreds of thousands of survivors salvaged what belongings they could and sought food and water at emergency centres.

Friday’s quake and tsunami damaged key nuclear plants and left entire cities demolished in their wake. Police in the northeastern Miyagi prefecture, one of the worst affected by the disaster, estimated Sunday that more than 10,000 people had been killed in the region, which is home to about 2.3 million people.

So far, the number of confirmed dead is 1,800, which includes about 200 bodies that were found along the coast on Sunday. But thousands more are still missing.

Hundreds of thousands of survivors have sought refuge at emergency centres, which quickly ran low on food, water and other supplies. An estimated 1.4 million households were still without water Sunday, and at least 1.9 million homes did not have electricity.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the disaster the worst crisis since World War II, and appealed in a television address for the Japanese people to come together to rebuild.

“This is Japan’s most severe crisis since the war ended 65 years ago,” Kan said.

While the official death toll may not be known for days, or weeks, CTV’s Tom Walters, speaking from Narita, Japan, said locals on the ground have little doubt that the death toll is much higher than the estimates being released by officials.

“There really is so much destruction, so many areas of debris that are difficult to search, so many areas were we are told rescuers have yet to reach,” Walters told CTV News Channel on Sunday. “I don’t think there is any confidence here on a full accounting for the human toll of this disaster.”

In the town of Minamisanrikucho, about 10,000 people, or two-thirds of the population, have not been heard from since the tsunami buried the town. Images shown on state broadcaster NHK showed only a handful of tall structures still standing in the town, including the local hospital.

In the port city of Sendai, firefighters sifted through the rubble, recovering bodies. Survivors in the town sought shelter in local community centres, schools and at city hall.

Outside the city, a large refinery remained on fire, with 30-metre flames shooting into the air. Plumes of smoke hovered over the town.

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