TOKYO: Around 10,000 people are unaccounted for in the Japanese port town of Minamisanriku in quake-hit Miyagi prefecture, public broadcaster NHK reported yesterday.
The figure is more than half of the population of roughly 17,000 in the town on the Pacific coast, it said.
Local authorities are trying to find their whereabouts with the help of Self-Defence Forces, NHK said.
Authorities have so far confirmed that around 7,500 people were evacuated to 25 shelters after Friday’s quake, NHK said.
Yesterday, too, huge earthquakes rocked northeastern Japan, a day after a giant temblor set off a powerful tsunam.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said a strong earthquake struck just before noon in the sea in virtually the same place where the magnitude 8.9 quake on Friday unleashed one of the greatest disasters Japan has witnessed — a seven-metre tsunami that washed far inland over fields and smashed towns.
Yesterday’s magnitude 6.8 quake was followed by a series of temblors originating from the same area, the USGS said. It was not immediately known whether the new quakes caused any more damage.
All were part of the more than 125 aftershocks since Friday’s massive quake, the strongest to hit here since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s.
It ranked as the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and was nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, scientists said.
The official death toll stood at 637, while 1,128 were injured.
In addition, police said between 200 and 300 bodies were found along the coast here, the biggest city in the area of the quake’s epicentre.
An untold number of bodies were also believed to be lying in the rubble and debris.
Rescue workers had yet to reach the hardesthit areas.
“The flood came in from behind the store and swept around both sides.
“Cars were flowing right by,” said Wakio Fushima, who owns a convenience store in this northern coastal city of 1.02 million people, 125km from the quake’s epicentre.
Smashed cars and small airplanes were jumbled up against buildings near the local airport, several kilometres from the shore.
Felled trees and wooden debris lay everywhere as rescue workers coasted on boats through murky waters around flooded structures, nosing their way through a sea of detr itus.
“The tsunami was unbelievably fast. Smaller cars were being swept around me and all I could do was sit in my truck,” said truck driver Koichi Takairin, 34, who was pinned in his vehicle and later escaped to a community centre. His rig ruined, he joined the steady flow of mud-spattered survivors who walked along the road away from the sea and back into city.
Smoke from at least one large fire could be seen in the distance.
But basic commodities were at a premium.
Hundreds lined up outside of supermarkets, and gas stations were swamped with cars.
The situation was similar in scores of other towns and cities along the 2,100km eastern coastline hit by the tsunami.
Read more: 10,000 missing,strong after shocks hit northeast Japan http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/10_000missing_strongaftershockshitnortheastJapan/Article/#ixzz1GSAkbXUa