Japan toll 15,000 dead or missing

March 17, 2011 at 4:41 PM
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TOKYO, March 17 (UPI) -- Almost 6,000 deaths from the earthquake and tsunami have been confirmed and 9,500 people are listed as missing, Japanese police said Thursday.

The National Police Agency said 380,000 people are living in shelters, Kyodo News reported. In addition to people made homeless by last week's disaster, thousands are leaving the Fukushima area because of the radiation danger from damaged nuclear reactors.

In its noon casualty report, the agency said 5,700 deaths have been confirmed. The number of confirmed dead and that of the missing are both expected to rise.

Fourteen people died after they were transferred from a hospital to a shelter in Iwaki because of the nuclear plant risk, officials said.

Transportation was beginning to recover in the stricken areas Thursday, with express bus service restored between some cities. Planes carrying relief supplies and emergency workers were able to land at Sendai airport, where the runways were underwater after the tsunami.

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