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Strong quake rattles Japan once again

[ 2011-04-12 10:54]     字号 [] [] []  
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Another strong quake with a magnitude of 7.0 rattled the eastern and northeastern parts of Japan at 5:16 pm local time on Monday. A tsunami alert was also issued but later lifted, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The aftershock came on the very day when Japan fell silent at 2:46 pm to remember the victims killed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the monster tsunami it created on March 11.

According to the Japanese National Police Agency, the disaster has left 13,116 people dead and 14,377 others unaccounted for in Japan.

Sirens sounded and people in hard-hit towns wept during ceremonies. In the devastated coastal neighborhood of Natori, more than 30 firemen and soldiers removed their hats and helmets and joined hands atop a small hill that has become a memorial for the dead. Earlier, four monks in pointed hats rang a prayer bell there as they chanted for those killed. The noisy clatter of construction equipment ceased briefly as crane operators stood outside their vehicles and bowed their heads.

With thousands of bodies yet to be found and a tsunami-flooded nuclear power plant still spewing radiation and more than 150,000 people living in shelters, there was little time for reflection on Japan's worst disaster since World War II.

The earthquake and tsunami flattened communities along hundreds of kilometers of coastline, causing what the government estimates could be as much as $310 billion in damage. More than 158,000 people are still without electricity, and 210,000 have no running water.

"We offer our deepest condolences to those who lost their loved ones," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday at a brief news conference where he pledged that the government would do whatever it could to help survivors and end the nuclear crisis. "We are sorry for causing inconvenience and difficulties to those who still live in shelters."

Yet the radiation spewing from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, 220 km northeast of Tokyo, is still adding the misery. It lost the cooling systems when water from the tsunami washed over it.

"We have no future plans. We can't even start to think about it because we don't know how long this will last or how long we will have to stay in these shelters," said Atsushi Yanai, a 55-year-old construction worker. The tsunami spared his home, but he has to live in a shelter anyway because it is in the evacuation zone.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Strong quake rattles Japan once again

Strong quake rattles Japan once again

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.