Thursday 26 April 2018

Survivors 'pushed to limit' as weather hampers relief efforts

Martin Evans

HUNDREDS of thousands of people living near Japan's crippled nuclear plant have been "pushed to the limit", the Fukushima regional governor said last night.

As the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station entered its seventh day, Yuhei Sato said the ongoing fear and anxiety had left survivors of the earthquake at the limit of their endurance.

More than 200,000 people living close to the nuclear complex have been forced to flee their homes, while another 140,000 living inside an 18-mile isolation zone have been told to stay indoors.

Makeshift evacuation camps have been set up for those made homeless by the disaster, but worsening weather conditions, including freezing temperatures and heavy snow, has heightened fears that many of those who survived the initial earthquake and tsunami could perish in the aftermath.

Mr Sato said there was huge frustration and anger over the lack of clear information and advice about the emergency.

He criticised the evacuation process and said those ordered to stay indoors were now running out of food and other vital supplies.

More than half-a-million people have been displaced by the earthquake and tsunami last Friday. But with the infrastructure in tatters, relief workers have been struggling to get aid to those suffering. The plight of those left homeless has been made worse by heavy snowfall.

Supplies of water and heating oil have been running perilously low at many of the evacuation centres and transport has been unable to reach some parts in order to move people to safety.

Takanori Watanabe, a Red Cross doctor in Otsuchi, a town where more than half the 17,000 residents are still missing, said: "Many people have fallen ill, getting diarrhoea and other symptoms."

It remains unclear how long the exclusion zone around the power station will be in place but food, water and blankets are only expected to last for a few more days. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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