April 11, 2011

Japan Suffers Through Another Strong Aftershock

Today, exactly one month after northern Japan was shaken by the 9.0-magnitude quake, a 6.6 magnitude aftershock rattled the same area around Fukushima. A warning for a 3-foot tsunami was issued after the temblor hit the northeast coast 5:16 p.m. local time, ABC News is reporting.

The latest quake was reported to cause landslides in the city of Iwaki, including one that buried three houses and trapped four people inside, police in Fukushima Prefecture told CNN News. Attempts to rescue the families were ongoing, their condition was not immediately known,

The office of Prime Minister Naoto Kan delayed a scheduled news conference due to the latest developments, his office said. Officials want to have the immediate situation under control before holding a news conference, the office said.

All advisories and warnings were lifted about an hour later, according to local Japanese TV.

The aftershock was originally reported to be 7.1 but was corrected to 7.0 by Japanese officials. The US Geological Survey said the quake was closer to a magnitude 6.6 after further examination of the data.

On Thursday of last week a reported 7.1 quake was felt which shutdown two Japanese nuclear plants and triggered a tsunami warning.

Recovery of bodies from the original earthquake and tsunami is still ongoing after one month. Japanese officials estimate 14,000 people are still missing, and 152,000 survivors are living in evacuation centers, the Guardian is reporting.

Officials from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are still hard at work attempting to contain radiation leaks and cool the fuel rods from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant located about 140 miles northeast of Tokyo.

TEPCO evacuated its workers  after today's quake and reports that there are no additional damage following today's aftershock. For a short time, the quake briefly cut off the external power supply to reactors No. 1 to 3 and cooling operations at the plant have been temporarily halted.

Evacuees from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been urging officials to let them return home to at least get their belongings. However officials are strongly concerned about the dangers of lingering radiation in the area.

Yukio Edano, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said on Japanese television today, "Even if there are no new discharge of radioactive materials already, there's deposition on the soil, which may affect people who remain in the area for a long time. It may have some affects on people's health."

Edano later said in a news conference that people living in four areas, about 20 miles from the plant, should leave the region within a month.

Previously, residents living only 12 miles of the plant have previously been told to evacuate. Hidehiko Nishiyama, a nuclear safety official, said there is still no word on a timeline to on resolution of the problem. "We are very sorry for the evacuees who are anxious to see the problem resolved," Nishiyama told the Associated Press today


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