Rebecca Broad, Workers Party National Organiser
A magnitude nine earthquake and consequent 23 ft tidal wave, occurring 70km off the northeast coast of Japan March 11, has caused severe and extensive damage to that country. The three prefectures or states of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate have sustained the most damage and loss of life. Multiple coastal towns have been completely destroyed by the tsunami. The Japanese military is heading up the recovery operation with 100,000 troops mobilised. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates that 2.5 million households could be affected, and 1.6 million houses over 11 prefectures have no access to clean water. The number of estimated deaths and officially missing on March 21 was respectively 18,000 and 9,200, according to the National Police Agency. However both of those amounts are expected to continue rising. Nearly 500,000 people are living in emergency shelters and around 22,000 people have been saved by rescuers so far.