Japan facing 'monumental' task to get food, water and medicines to tsunami survivors

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 10:30 hrs

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has said that supplies of food, water and medicines were starting to run out in temporary shelters built for Japan's earthquake and tsunami survivors.

"It's a monumental task. People can't live in these conditions for long. The government is trying to house them in evacuation centres, but they are packed and people are sleeping on strips of cardboard. We are seeing people with hypothermia," the Telegraph quoted Patrick Fuller, a British aid worker for IFRC in the devastated town of Otsuchi, as saying.

"The Japanese Red Cross has 700 medical staff who are dealing with people who need medication, including those who need daily prescriptions. But there are a lot of places we haven't reached yet because the roads are blocked with debris and bridges have been washed away. The destruction in some of these coastal towns is absolute," he added.

Fuller further said that in Otsuchi, on the north-east coast of Japan, 9,000 people out of 17,000 were still missing.

"More than 500,000 people have been displaced. They have either lost their homes or can't go home because there is no electricity and it's too cold," Otsuchi said.

A 9.0 MW megathrust earthquake had hit Japan last Friday.

The earthquake had created extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 10 meters that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some cases travelling up to 10 kms inland.

The Japanese National Police Agency has officially confirmed 3,771 deaths, 2,044 injuries, and 7,843 people missing across 16 prefectures.

The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe damage, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse.

Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan have been left without electricity and 1.5 million without water. (ANI)

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