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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mass exodus from Tokyo

A MASS exodus from Tokyo is under way as those left behind pray for the wind to save them from a new radiation nightmare.

The airport of Japan's quake-hit capital was besieged as levels of the invisible killer soared to ten times the normal level there.
And that was before a FOURTH explosion and a fire at a stricken nuclear plant sparked fresh terror - that of a poison cloud of nuclear rain.
The leaking station was officially abandoned this morning after radiation levels around the plant "increased rapidly".
The 50 "essential" workers who had remained on site to pump cooling water into the overheating reactors were finally evacuated.
Cabinet Secretary Yukido Edano said the radiation level had appeared to be going down last night, before making an unexpected surge at 10am (1am GMT).
Breaking News
He also revealed experts were puzzled by plumes of white smoke seen pouring from the stricken facility in the early hours.
Mr Edano said: "We are looking for the cause of the white smoke, and are studying whether it is related to fluctuating radiation readings by the front gate.
In the wind ... nuclear plant and its radioactive plume
In the wind ... nuclear plant and its radioactive plume
"On the whole it poses no health hazard. At one time last night we had a reading of 1,000 microsieverts, but this morning it reduced to 600.
"But near the front gate at 10am, it started to increase rapidly and is now being measured in millisieverts - which is not desirable."

Japan may now seek direct U.S. military help to end the crisis at the plant , the chief government spokesman said.
Meanwhile, weathermen predicted a looming change in the wind could send a deadly plume over Tokyo.
Nuclear analyst John Large said of the threat from the skies: "Particles will be encased in water droplets, making the ground radioactive."
Drivers queued at petrol stations for up to ten hours to fill their tanks and flee - ignoring official reassurances that contamination was still low and they were not in danger.
Banker Matt Saunderson, 33 - among Brits determined to get families clear - said: "I'm sending my wife and children home.
"It doesn't matter what the Japanese authorities are saying - when it comes to nuclear fallout, or the risk of it, I'm not taking chances with my kids."

Japan's PM Naoto Kan was said to have stormed at power company executives yesterday after the latest meltdown horror: "What the hell's going on?"
He was furious at having to wait an hour to be briefed about the unfolding catastrophe at the Fukushima plant 170 miles away - while the blast was screened live on the news.
The grim-faced PM later went on national TV to admit: "The possibility of further radioactive leakage is heightening.
"We are making every effort to prevent the leak from spreading. I know that people are very worried but I would like to ask you to act calmly."
Radiation rise ... monitor in Tokyo yesterday
Radiation rise ... monitor in Tokyo yesterday
His words did little to ease the terror of many among the 39million living in and around Tokyo. Others closer to the Fukushima plant were furious.
Fumiko Watanabe, 70 - among 70,000 evacuated from a 12-mile radius - raged: "They told us over and over again that it was safe, safe, safe, safe. I can't believe them now. Not at all."
Exposure ... how increasing doses of radiation affect victims
Exposure ... how increasing doses of radiation affect victims
The plant is just one of several that engineers are battling to control after Japan was rocked by its biggest earthquake on Friday.
Relief ... children embrace as they gather to confirm their safety at school in Miyako
Relief ... children embrace as they gather to confirm their safety at school in Miyako
The 9.0-magnitude tremor caused a tsunami four-storeys high that smashed across the north east coast, killing up to 20,000. Around 450 Brits are missing - with ten feared dead.
Tokyo's rising radiation saw a scramble by families to flee either overseas or to cities in the west such as Osaka.
Playing safe ... scared girl uses breathing mask
Playing safe ... scared girl uses breathing mask
Nuke experts insisted the level was not a risk to human health. But toxicologist Lee Tin-lap warned: "You are still breathing this into your lungs, and there is passive absorption in the skin, eyes and mouth. We really do not know what long-term impact that would have."
Near the latest out-of-control reactor, which is different to ones at the power station that have previously exploded, the radiation reading was 400 millisieverts per hour. The safe limit is 100 millisieverts in a YEAR.
More than 140,000 people within a danger zone of 18 miles around the plant were yesterday warned to seal themselves up indoors.
Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano starkly reminded them of the cancer risk as he begged: "Please close windows and make your homes airtight.
"These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that." While the wind was blowing much of the radiation out to sea, that was predicted to change.
Teachers and business executives joined the stampede among the 12,000 Brits in Tokyo to leave.
Doomscape ... one of the obliterated towns in tsunami-hit Japanese province of Iwate
Doomscape ... one of the obliterated towns in tsunami-hit Japanese province of Iwate
Those frantic to jet home found flights to London booked solid for the next two weeks.
Banker Matt, from Guildford in Surrey, said: "The city feels eerie and scared."
Fellow Brit David Williams said after sending his own family out of the city: "If the wind does change as predicted it will be blowing towards Tokyo.
"Like Japanese people, I don't believe what we are being told. I'm worried information is being kept from the public. I have a bag packed by the door and I have a motorbike to avoid the crowds."
You're alive! ... tearful Manami Kimura finds her mum in a shelter
You're alive! ... tearful Manami Kimura finds her mum in a shelter
Ten-year-old Lucy Niver said as she jetted home to the US: "I'm scared."
America has advised citizens to avoid travel to Japan. US Navy reinforcements sent to help the tsunami rescue effort were arriving to the west - after ships based off the east coast recorded increased radiation.
All gone ... Ken Shioy lost home and business
All gone ... Ken Shioy lost home and business
Yesterday China began evacuating all 22,155 of its citizens from Japan's north-east - most of them factory workers.
Austria was moving its Tokyo embassy 250 miles to Osaka. France recommended citizens leave the Japanese capital, which yesterday saw an orgy of panic-buying by residents who fear they may be ordered to hole up indoors.

The multi-storey Don Quixote store in Roppongi district sold out of radios, torches, candles and sleeping bags.
Confusion about how to combat the reactor meltdowns appeared to reign - with claims Japan's PM was angrily forced to order the Tokyo Electric Power Company not to pull crews out.
Two of its workers were yesterday revealed to have died at the plant.
Military helicopters may be used to pour water on No4 reactor - which was last night on fire. The US may be asked to help.
Still hoping ... a British firefighter in Ofunato
Still hoping ... a British firefighter in Ofunato


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