The death toll from the tsunamiand earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan, was in the hundreds, but Japanese news media quoted government officials as saying that it would almost certainly rise to more than 1,000. About 200 to 300 bodies were found along the waterline in Sendai, a port city in northeastern Japan and the closest major city to the epicenter.
Thousands of homes were destroyed, many roads were impassable,trains and buses were not running, and power and cellphones remained down. On Saturday morning, the JR rail company said that there were three trains missing in parts of two northern prefectures.
While the loss of life and property may yet be considerable, many lives were certainly saved by Japan’s extensive disaster preparedness and strict construction codes. Japan’s economy was spared a moredevastating blow because the earthquake hit far from its industrial heartland.
Japanese officials on Saturday issued broad evacuation orders for people living in the vicinity of two separate nuclear power plants that had experienced breakdowns in their cooling systems as a result of the earthquake, and they warned that small amounts of radiation could leak from both plants.
On Friday, at 2:46 p.m.Tokyo time, the quake struck. First came the roar and rumble of the temblor, shaking skyscrapers, toppling furniture and buckling highways. Then waves as high as 30 feet rushed onto shore, whisking away cars and carrying blazing buildings toward factories, fields and highways.
By Saturday morning, Japan was filled with scenes of desperation, as stranded survivors called for help and rescuerssearched for people buried in the rubble. Kazushige Itabashi, an official in Natori City, one of the areas hit hardest by the tsunami, said several districts in an area near Sendai’s airport were annihilated.
Rescuers found 870 people in one elementary school on Saturday morning and were trying to reach 1,200 people in the junior high school, closer to the water. There was no electricity and nowater for people in shelters. According to a newspaper, the Mainichi Shimbun, about 600 people were on the roof of a public grade school, in Sendai City. By Saturday morning, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and firefighters had evacuated about 150 of them.
On the rooftop of Chuo Hospital in the city of Iwanuma, doctors and nurses were waving white flags and pink umbrellas, according to TV Asahi. On thefloor of the roof, they wrote “Help” in English, and “Food” in Japanese. The reporter, observing the scene from a helicopter, said, “If anyone in the City Hall office is watching, please help them.”
The station also showed scenes of people stranded on a bridge, cut off by water on both sides near the mouth of the Abukuma River in Miyagi Prefecture.
TOKIO - Los equipos de rescateluchaban por llegar a los sobrevivientes en la mañana del sábado, mientras Japón se tambaleó después de un terremoto y un tsunami en tándem letal.El terremoto de 8,9 grados de magnitud provocó una tsunami devastador que envió paredes de agua de lavado sobre las ciudades costeras en el norte. Preocupaciones montado sobre fugas de radiación posible a partir de dos centrales nucleares cerca de la zona delterremoto.
La cifra de muertos por el tsunami y el terremoto, el más fuerte jamás registrado en Japón, estuvo en los cientos, pero la prensa japonesa de noticias citó a funcionarios del gobierno diciendo que es casi seguro que elevarse a más de 1.000. Entre 200 y 300 cuerpos fueron encontrados a lo largo de la línea de flotación en Sendai, una ciudad portuaria en el noreste de Japón y la...