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Japan in survival mode after quake

TOKYO (AFP) - Millions of Japanese people were without food, water or power Monday and hundreds of thousands more homeless after a massive quake and tsunami left the economic superpower battling third-world conditions.

Aid workers and search teams from across the world joined 100,000 Japanese soldiers in a massive relief push as the rattled country suffered a wave of major aftershocks and fresh tsunami scare, while temperatures plummeted.

Store shelves and petrol stations emptied across the country as panic buying took hold, while 2.6 million houses were without electricity and 3.2 million people were running out of gas supplies according to the United Nations.

Hard-hit Ishinomaki, a town of about 165,000, is without power or communications and aid supplies have faltered due to transport damage. Half of the city is estimated to have been engulfed by the tsunami.

"First of all, we have no drinking water," mayor Hiroshi Kameyama told public broadcaster NHK. "We also have neither food nor information."

Asia-Pacific Red Cross spokesman Patrick Fuller, working in Ishinomaki, said it was a "desperate race against the clock to save those who may be trapped and wounded beneath colossal mounds of debris".

"At the Red Cross hospital, no space is left unused. Exhausted Red Cross medics sleep side by side with the wounded," Fuller said in a Red Cross blog.

"And still droves of injured people in need of medical help arrive. The wounded arrive on foot, by helicopter or carried by their fellow citizens."

At least 1.4 million people in Japan are temporarily without running water and more than 500,000 people are taking shelter in evacuation centers, said the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"The main humanitarian needs are food, drinking water, blankets, fuel and medical items which the government and private sector in Japan are urgently mobilizing and sending to the affected area," OCHA said.

Rolling blackouts began across the nation in a bid to save power, with the heavily nuclear-dependent nation rocked by explosions and meltdown fears at its Fukushima power plant as well as an oil refinery fire.

The UN said power and gas supplies were critical, with the Japanese winter bringing sub-zero temperatures overnight and snow and rain forecast for coming days.

"Rescue and relief operations are being hampered by continuous aftershocks, tsunami alerts, and fires," OCHA said.

"Many areas along the northeast coast remain isolated and unreachable by emergency services."

Soldiers were distributing heaters, emergency rations, blankets and water, and the military said some 10,000 people had been rescued.

There had been landslides in dozens of regions and roads, bridges and railways had been washed away, while major highways to the ravaged northeast were closed to all but emergency traffic, according to the Japanese Red Cross.

Boats, planes and helicopters were being used to ferry supplies and effect rescues but teams were facing significant logistical problems.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said water, food and blankets were the number one priorities on the ground and medical needs were growing across the country's 2,000 evacuation centers.

"Clearly the level of devastation is huge, but the response by the Japanese authorities is also massive," MSF Japan director Eric Ouannes told AFP.

<한글 기사>

日지진 사망.실종자 5천명 돌파

교민 사망자 1명 첫 확인‥후쿠시마 원전 2차 폭발 이어 3차폭발도 우려

일본 대지진과 쓰나미로 인한 사망자 및 실종자 수가 14일 오후 현재 5천명을 돌파했다고 교도통신이 보도했다.

사망.실종자 수가 늘어난 것은 이날 미야기(宮城)현의 해변 두 곳에서 시신 2천 구가 발견된데 따른 것이다.

하지만 미야기현 미나미산리쿠초(南三陸町)에서 약 1만명이 행방불명 상태인 것을 비롯해 지진 발생 사흘까지도 연락이 닿지 않거나 행방불명인 경우가 모두 약 3만7천명에 달해 일각에서는 사망자 수가 수만명에 달할 것이라는 비관적 전망도 나온다.

이에 비해 AP는 일본 관리들을 인용, "사망자는 1천800명 이상이고 실종자는 1천400명이며 부상자는 1천900명"이라면서 "현재로서는 1만명 이상이 사망한 것으로 추정된다"고 보도했다. .

일본 경찰청 공식 집계에 따르면 이날 정오 현재 사망자는 1천647명, 실종자는 1천720명, 부상자 1천990명이다.

이번 사태로 우리 교민 사망자가 처음 확인됐는데, 외교통상부는 히로시마 소재 건설회사 직원인 이모(40)씨가 지난 11일 지진발생 당시 동북부 이바라키현 소재 화력발전소 건설현장에서 굴뚝 증설공사 작업중 추락해 사망했다고 밝혔다.

14일 오전 후쿠시마(福島) 제1원자력발전소 3호기 건물에서 폭발 사고가 발생해 발전소 직원과 자위대원 등 11명이 부상했다.

이날 폭발은 지난 12일 1호기 폭발이후 두번째로, 사고 당시 원전에서는 화염과 함께 검은 연기가 하늘 높이 치솟아 첫번째보다 폭발 강도가 훨씬 심했던 것으로 알려졌다.

그러나 에다노 유키오(枝野幸男) 관방장관은 기자회견에서 "격납용기는 안전한 상태로 3호기의 폭발 원인도 1호기와 같은 수소폭발로 보인다"며 "대규모 방사성 물 질이 떠다닐 가능성은 낮은 것으로 판단하고 있다"고 말했다.

원전 운영사인 도쿄전력(TEPCO)은 이날 제1원자력발전소의 2호기에서도 냉각장치 가동이 중단됐다고 밝혀 3차 폭발 가능성도 제기되고 있다.

구조활동도 본격화해 일본 정부는 동북부 현지에 자위대 병력 10만명을 투입하는 한편 비상식량, 담요 등을 긴급 공수하고 있는데 이재민 수는 45만명 정도로 파악되고 있다.

한편 NHK방송은 이날 오전 "일본 북동부 해안 인근 바다의 해수면이 5m가량 낮아졌다"며 대형 쓰나미가 곧 도달할 것으로 예상된다고 보도했다.

그러나 일본 기상청은 아오모리(靑森)현과 이바라키(茨城)현에서는 파고가 수십

㎝에 그칠 것으로 예상된다면서 쓰나미가 관측되지 않았다고 밝혔다. 기상청은 이후 쓰나미 경보가 해제됐다고 공식 발표했다.

이날 일본 도쿄증시에서 닛케이(日經)평균주가지수는 지난 주말에 비해 633.94

포인트(6.18%) 급락한 9,620.49로 마감, 리먼 브러더스 사태로 주가가 폭락했던 2008년 10월24일 이후 가장 큰 하락폭을 보였다.

 

Japanese Hiromitsu Shinkawa, wrapped in a blanket, is lifted to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer following his rescue on Sunday March 13, 2011. (AP-Yonhap News)
Japanese Hiromitsu Shinkawa, wrapped in a blanket, is lifted to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer following his rescue on Sunday March 13, 2011. (AP-Yonhap News)

Members of Japan Self-Defense Forces rescue people stranded at a flooded city center in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)
Members of Japan Self-Defense Forces rescue people stranded at a flooded city center in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)

People queue up around a ditch to buy kerosene at a gas station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture. (AP-Yonhap News)
People queue up around a ditch to buy kerosene at a gas station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture. (AP-Yonhap News)

People walk out of their town after retrieving belongings at their homes in Daigasaki, near Sendai, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)
People walk out of their town after retrieving belongings at their homes in Daigasaki, near Sendai, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)

People bring bottles of drinks after they receive free drink service in Tagajo near Sendai, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)
People bring bottles of drinks after they receive free drink service in Tagajo near Sendai, northern Japan. (AP-Yonhap News)
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