Japan Death Toll Passes 10K

17K still missing as concern grows over food, water

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 25, 2011 6:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A sad milestone out of Japan: Two weeks after the quake struck, its official death toll has broken the 10,000 mark—and that number is still on the rise, with more than 17,400 missing. Police estimate the toll will surpass 15,000 in the hardest-hit prefecture alone. Among survivors, hundreds of thousands remain in temporary shelters, 660,000 homes lack water, and 209,000 have no electricity. And with the damage expected to cost as much as $310 billion, it’s set to be the most expensive natural disaster in recorded history, the AP reports.

Japan has extended the evacuation zone from a 12-mile radius around the troubled Fukushima plant to an 18-mile one, notes the Los Angeles Times. Water is in short supply as bottles fly off the shelves; the government is weighing importing drinking water. Even in Tokyo, 150 miles from the plant, there are reports of radiation in the food chain. The government has now restricted sales of 11 leafy vegetables, prompting farmers’ fear for their livelihood, reports the Washington Post.

Passengers from a flight from Japan are scanned for radiation on their arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Friday, March 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Japan's Self-Defense Force personnel pass a woman recovering valuables from her damaged home, Friday, March 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A woman recovers valuables from her damaged home, Friday, March 25, 2011 in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Indian students offer prayers for the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims, in Hyderabad, India, Friday, March 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Japan's Self-Defense Force personnel surveys the damage, Friday, March 25, 2011 in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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