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A Day Out in Munnar

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/photos/a-day-out-in-munnar-slideshow/

A Day Out in Munnar

Munnar, which means confluence of three rivers, was the summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. In the late 19th century, A.H. Sharp planted the first tea bush and since then tea has been the main agricultural crop in the region. Today, the hills around Munnar are blanketed with best-in-class green tea bushes. With its sprawling tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains and cool air, it’s no surprise that Munnar was rated the second-best Asian travel destination, only second to Tokyo.Our editor CLINT THOMAS had a day out in Munnar and captured its poetic beauty. Enjoy this virtual tour.

munnar

Munnar, which means confluence of three rivers, was the summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. In the late 19th century, A.H. Sharp planted the first tea bush and since then tea has been the main agricultural crop in the region. Today, the hills around Munnar are blanketed with best-in-class green tea bushes. With its sprawling tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains and cool air, it’s no surprise that Munnar was rated the second-best Asian travel destination, only second to Tokyo.

munnar

If you are a true admirer of nature, Munnar is your dream destination and cruising along winding smooth roads across mist-sheeted lush green tea gardens is the finest experience you can ever have.

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Around every corner is another stunning view. You do not need a map or a guide; all you need is a good pair of shoes and the curiosity to see what is around the next curve. You need not necessarily be a shutterbug; random clicks can get you incredible photographs.

munnar

On the way to Munnar, some 22 kms before reaching there, I stopped by Anayirankal dam, a vast expanse of water surrounded by green carpeted hills covered with tea gardens. The distant view of the reservoir follows you for another 15 kms and it’s an excellent location for photography.

munnar

Does this picture suggest land’s end? It virtually is. This is Top Station, which is 41 kms uphill from Munnar. Located at the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu, this spot offers an ‘awebreathtakingsome’ panoramic view. Strolling down this pathway with steep abyss on both sides is adventurous, rather risky, but the view you get there is one of a kind.

munnar

The dude who poses here is Varayadu or Nilgiri Tahr, stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Nilgiri Tahr is an endangered mountain ungulate listed in schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Eravikulam National Park which has the highest density and largest surviving population of this species is situated hardly 14 kms from Munnar town. Know more about this endangered species.

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At every other corner you will find women with baskets full of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to bargain and buy tender carrots, passion fruits and wild tomatoes, all farm fresh and delicious.

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Anamudi is the highest peak in the Western Ghats situated at a height of 2,695 metres (8,842 feet) above mean sea level. It is located in the southern part of Eravikulam National Park, fifty kilometers from Munnar. It is also the ideal place for wildlife travelers and nature lovers. It literally means “Elephant forehead”.

munnar

13 kms away from Munnar, Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialised dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss project. More than 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. The Mattupetty Lake and Dam, just a short distance from the farm, is a gorgeous picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations, Kundala Lake and the echo point are other attractions in the vicinity. A boat cruise on the lake is the best way to enjoy the leisure.

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Bristling with wildlife and crystal clear streams, the enticing charm of Munnar is simply irresistible. The area has many attractions within a short distance of the town of Munnar, including the Sandalwood Forest of Marayoor and the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Radiation inside Japan nuclear plant rises sharply

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110327/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake

By YURI KAGEYAMA and MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Yuri Kageyama And Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press 58 mins ago

TOKYOEmergency workers struggling to pump contaminated water from Japan’s stricken nuclear complex fled one of the troubled reactors Sunday after reporting a huge spike in radioactivity, with levels 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor’s cooling system, officials said.

The numbers were so high that the worker measuring radiation levels in the complex’s Unit 2 withdrew before taking a second reading, officials said.

It was not immediately clear, however, how long workers were exposed to the highly radioactive water or how long the levels had been that high at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

But it came as officials acknowledged there was contaminated water in all four of the complex’s most troubled reactors, and as airborne radiation in Unit 2 measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour — four times the limit deemed safe by the government, Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita said.

Officials say they still don’t know where the radioactive water is coming from, though government spokesman Yukio Edano has said some is “almost certainly” seeping from a cracked reactor core in one of the units.

While the discovery of the high radiation levels — and the evacuation of workers from one reactor unit — again delayed efforts to bring the deeply troubled complex under control, Edano insisted the situation had partially stabilized.

“We have somewhat prevented the situation from turning worse,” he told reporters Sunday evening. “But the prospects are not improving in a straight line and we’ve expected twists and turns. The contaminated water is one of them and we’ll continue to repair the damage.”

The discovery over the last three days of radioactive water has been a major setback in the mission to get the plant’s crucial cooling systems operating more than two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The magnitude-9 quake off Japan’s northeast coast on March 11 triggered a tsunami that barreled onshore and disabled the Fukushima plant, complicating an immense humanitarian disaster.

The death toll from the twin disasters stood at 10,668 Sunday, with more than 16,574 people missing, police said. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless.

Workers have been scrambling to remove the radioactive water from the four units and find a safe place to store it, TEPCO officials said.

On Sunday night, Minoru Ogoda of Japan’s nuclear safety agency said each unit could have hundreds of tons of radioactive water.

The protracted nuclear crisis has spurred concerns about the safety of food and water in Japan, which is a prime source of seafood for some countries. Radiation has been found in food, seawater and even tap water supplies in Tokyo.

Just outside the coastal Fukushima nuclear plant, radioactivity in seawater tested about 1,250 times higher than normal last week — but that number had climbed to 1,850 times normal by the weekend.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, a nuclear safety official, said the increase was a concern, but also said the area is not a source of seafood and that the contamination posed no immediate threat to human health.

Experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency said the ocean would quickly dilute the worst contamination.

Up to 600 people are working inside the plant in shifts. Nuclear safety officials say workers’ time inside the crippled units is closely monitored to minimize their exposure to radioactivity, but two workers were hospitalized Thursday when they suffered burns after stepping into contaminated water. They are to be released from the hospital Monday.

Edano has urged TEPCO to be more transparent about the potential dangers after the safety agency revealed the plant operator was aware of high radiation levels in the air in Unit 3 several days before the two workers suffered burns there.

A top TEPCO official acknowledged Sunday it could take a long time to completely clean up the complex.

“We cannot say at this time how many months or years it will take,” TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said, insisting the main goal now is to cool the reactors.

A poll, meanwhile, showed that support for Japan’s prime minister has risen as the administration tackles the disasters.

The public opinion poll conducted over the weekend by Kyodo News agency found that approval of Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet rose to 28.3 percent after sinking below 20 percent in February, before the earthquake and tsunami.

Last month’s low approval led to speculation that Kan’s days were numbered. While the latest figure is still low, it suggests he is making some gains with voters.

About 58 percent of respondents in the nationwide telephone survey of 1,011 people said they approved of the government’s handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but a similar number criticized its handling of the nuclear crisis.

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Fukushima Reactors Catastrophe: Radiation Exposure, Lies and Cover-up

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23973

by Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri

Global Research, March 26, 2011

Should the public discover the true health cost[s] of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperate passively with their own death.” Dr. Rosalie Bertell. “No Immediate Danger,” xiii.

I write this article not just as a long-time environmental writer and author, but also as a survivor of the horrific 2003 1-million-acre Southern California FIRESTORM that took many lives (both human and millions of animals) during the three-and-a-half-weeks of out-of-control blazes and 400-foot-high walls of flames throughout San Diego and Orange counties. This nightmare blanketed a vast area from over the border into Tijuana up to just south of Los Angeles. Many “back county” areas and national and state parks were also destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of us could not evacuate because planes were grounded and the flames crossed over many freeways. Death and destruction continued for many years after. Many of my friends have died since then, due to fire-related illnesses, as the entire area was blanketed with a spew of toxins. As with the tragedy of September 11th, when Christy Todd Whitman said New York’s air was okay, our local “public” officials refused to monitor the air. Finally, unable to breathe, even with a high-tech respirator, I called the county with warnings. San Diego air “quality” samples were posted for only three days and then conveniently disappeared. Toxins were off the scale.

We had just 15 minutes to evacuate, when the helicopter flew overhead at 7 a.m. My entire neighborhood of 2,000 was destroyed, as well as 90 percent of all the wildlife! It was deliberately torched, and people and animals died. When we were finally allowed “home,” all that was left was burn, ash, skeletons of trees, and hot soil. I know what it means, day-to-day, to just barely survive a countywide catastrophe. I know what deep trauma is all about. I know how everyone in charge lies and deceives those of us in extremis. I know that when a place in the US is declared a “Federal Disaster” area, this quite literally means: “tough, you are on your own. There will be no help.” My heart aches for the people in Japan who are directly in harm’s way, while their government continues to make nuclear corporate profits the priority over the safety of millions of Japanese. It is criminal; and it happens all over.

During and for years after the FIRESTORM, public officials lied and deceived us. Insurance companies refused to honor thousands of policies, and many of us had to take them to court…but even the “justice” system is rigged. From the mayor and fire officials to the governor and a so-called “Blue Ribbon Commission,” the 14 arson fires and their causes were all covered-up. No one was held accountable. No one told us the truth. Further, we barely had any real help in clean-up or recovery –even if we had insurance. Knee-deep in warm ash, I shoveled it myself over seven-and-a-half months, with only 5 days of help. Thousands of us had to do it ourselves…even to getting our own Relief Center set up –again, because officials gave us the run-around.

A week-and-a-half into the Fukushima nuclear disaster, this is what is happening:

1. There are 4 reactors in various stages of collapse, releasing untold amount of dangerous radiation. Two more reactors may also be at risk.

2. The public generally has not been told that, in addition, there are 40 years of spent fuel rods on this already contaminated site. See:

www.infowars.com/alert-fukushima-coverup-40-years-of-spent-nuclear-rods-blown-sky-high

3. Other fuel rods are fully exposed (meaning, unknown amounts of release of radiation) because they are no longer covered with the necessary 45-feet of water.

4. Last week the US refused to post online whatever radiation levels they were monitoring as radiation hits the West Coast and comes East. Then there were several reports that their monitors [all of them?] went off line, or crashed. It is doubtful that any official will report the truth. See:

www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/03/you-can-view-official-epa-radiation.html

The lies, criminality, and cover-up continue. This is how a totally broken system “works.” See:

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23676

and

http://www.infowars.com/pentagon-cover-up-of-data-on-fukushima-disaster

Here is some additional excellent information about reactors and the extreme dangers of nuclear power:

1. Keith Harmon Snow’s “Nuclear Apocalypse in Japan. Lifting the Veil of Nuclear Catastrophe and cover-up”:

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23764

2. A report from the New York Academy of Science has been published on “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”:

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23745

3. List of US nuclear plants:

www.animatedsoftware.com/environm/no_nukes/nukelist1.htm#MidWest

Realistically, the Japanese catastrophe could last months or years, given the half-life of many radioactive particles. We don’t know, because no official or agency is reporting the truth, while we all are in danger of radiation exposure. How much? For how long? What kind (cesium, iodine, plutonium, strontium, uranium, all radioactive and each with different half life)? I think this catastrophe will turn out to be far worse than Chernobyl because again profits taken precedence over safety. See:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtriAolCyow&feature=player_embedded

and

www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-reactor.html?ref=asia

I URGE EVERYONE who has access to a good Geiger counter or other monitoring technology to monitor radiation levels –most especially on the West Coast; and all other US states, as it comes East on the Jet Stream. Some radiation has already been reported in Washington state. One website is already monitoring the situation in real time in Santa Monica (near Los Angeles), CA:

www.enviroreporter.com/2011/03/enviroreporter-coms-radiation-station

But we need much more collecting and reporting of radiation data. This is extremely urgent! Remember, for the past 12-15 years, our weather and air have been altered and deliberately manipulated. All along the Pacific Coast, from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, we need real-time radiation figures. This goes for Canada, too. We can post these results on this website and others, so we can have an accurate collective picture of the on-going radiation dangers we may be facing throughout North America. This is a highly dangerous, yet invisible and real threat to our safety and wellbeing –most especially for children who are most vulnerable! [I also remind readers that the ENTIRE Gulf of Mexico, and its nearby southern states, continues to be poisoned daily in an unmitigated crisis!]

From the very beginning, nuclear energy has been totally unsafe. Even early on in the 1950s, when there were nuclear tests in Nevada, citizens were never warned about the extreme toxicity and dangers to which they were exposed. For our entire lives, the nuclear industry has done decades-long media campaigns to give us misinformation and lies. It’s all about greed, but never about our safety or well-being. The US government has indemnified these companies, just as they have done with the pharmaceutical companies and their dangerous drugs. We are all expendable, except as uninformed consumers to buy their toxic products, and then for the next generation to repeat this insanity. With each new generation that is less well educated (dumbed-down, and often on prescription drugs from an early age), there is less information, no accountability, but millions more people who now are far more ill from an environment rife with thousands of poisons that surround our every move.

Some of the Nuclear Dangers include:

1. The reactors have design flaws, as does Fukushima’s Mark 1, built by GE. There are many of these same-designed reactors here in the US. On March 16, the NY Times reported some of these flaws. But, it is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg:

www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/world/asia/16contain.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

2. For radioactive nuclear waste, there is no safe or secure storage anywhere on this planet. There are 1,623 hazardous Superfund sites all over the US (such as Hanford Nuclear Reservation, built in 1942, near Richland, WA, and the now highly polluted Columbia River) leaking radioactive poisons on a daily basis for decades. There is another working nuclear facility, San Onofre, located between San Diego and Los Angeles along the beach right on the Pacific Ocean. This facility was built on the San Andreas fault, an active earthquake zone. The nuclear contamination is enormous and, every day, this puts us all at risk. Dr. Rosalie Bertell, one of the world’s leading authorities who has written extensively about the spectacular flaws and true costs of nuclear energy, notes: “The problem of secure storage of nuclear waste…remains dangerous for millennia.” [See also her quote at the beginning of this article.]

3. The half-life of many radioactive elements is thousands of years. There is no safe level of exposure! It’s all Orwellian media hype and corporate lies. The plutonium fuel used at Fukushima Unit 3 reactor uses MOX [mixed oxide], a plutonium-uranium fuel mixture. A single milligram of MOX is 2-million times more deadly that enriched uranium. NOTE: Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years; and Uranium-235 has a half-life of 700-million years.

4. Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic bomb survivors are still being monitored. Birth defects, cancers, and miscarriages are high, just as these continue to be so at Chernobyl. This April 25, it will be 25 years since Chernobyl’s nuclear catastrophe. Sterility figures (for human and all other life) continue to increase. Nothing is healed. Nothing is fixed for millions of people. The children are most vulnerable, and suffer enormously.

5. The horrific on-going crisis in Iraq [an ancient culture was illegally invaded and destroyed!] is also greatly exacerbated due to US bombings of Depleted (Radioactive) Uranium, poisoning the entire population. Now, illness and birth defects are common throughout the entire Iraqi population. It is all for control of their oil. Afghanis were also illegally bombed with DU. Is Libya next with yet another illegal invasion and DU bombings? None of the real and tragic stories are ever reported by the mainstream corporate-controlled media. This is in violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions. This is heinous! However, it all is irrelevant how much harm is perpetrated on innocent civilian populations when criminals are in charge. War is big business, while the rest of our economy is in a state of deliberately orchestrated collapse.

Connecting the Dots of Harm

The new report (#53) from GEAB [Global Europe Assessment Bulletin] published on March 17 from Brussels also is important news not generally reported. GEAB has been quite accurate in their evaluations, as the US economy (everything but military expenditures) continues to be intentionally destroyed:

www.leap2020.eu/Global-systemic-crisis-Second-half-of-2011-Get-ready-for-the-meltdown-of-the-US-Treasury-Bond-market_a6091.html

Last week world-renowned author Dr. Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, gave a lecture in Montreal on the dangers of the nuclear age. Dr. Caldicott has spent almost 40 years educating the public about the serious medical dangers surrounding this topic and the now very urgently needed changes in human behavior to stop the extensive environmental devastation. Although the lecture has not been posted online, here is a recent interview (March 12):

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23663

Finally, there are other enormous concerns regarding our safety and well-being, because there is absolutely NO PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE in place. That is the elite insider’s plan: grave harm! We MUST address these vital issues on a grassroots level, because those in charge are the ones causing us such extreme injury. We will need the help of independent scientists and health-care providers.  It is a given that we no longer have any real air “quality.” What we are breathing with every single breath is a hazardous, now plasma-state, spew.(1) This impacts our immune system at the celluar DNA level. How will the thousands of tons of aerosolized poisons in Chemtrails, sprayed around the world, interact with radioactive materials (especially those with a long half life)? What might be the detrimental synergistic interaction(s) among the nano-Morgellons-fibers (that Clifford Carnicom has been researching microscopically for a decade(2), found in human, animals, and environmental samples), the nano-particles of fiber-coated aluminum, and now-unknown quantities of various radioactive particles?

How might all of this also interact with possibly thousands of tons of deadly Corexit 9500 dispersant sprayed (on land and over water for many months) and the unconscionable release of “Synthia,” a genetically modified synthetic genome bacteria now replicating exponentially throughout the Gulf of Mexico.(3) Tragically, the Gulf is now a biological and chemical war zone. However, it is all happening on an invisible level. This hazardous Gulf spew is in addition to what is heading our way from Japan to North America and thence to Europe and Asia.  We must wake up. There is much we can do! Will YOU help?

NOTES:

1. Clifford Carnicom discusses the plasma state and other vital environmental issues in a recent web interview:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTVpsmBNvL8

2. “The Biggest Crime of All Time.” March 1, 2011:

www.carnicom.com/bio2011-2.htm

3. “Synthia”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NejKdYA05M;

“Permanent Biological Contamination of the Gulf”:

http://worldvisionportal.org/wvpforum/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=1354

and Michael Edwards. “It’s not wise to fool other Nature.” This is part 1 of 4: http://worldvisionportal.org/wvpforum/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=1031

Essential reading:

Dr. Rosalie Bertell. “No Immediate Danger” and “ Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War.”

Theo Colburn et al. “Our Stolen Future.”

Pierpaolo Mittica et al. “Chernobyl. The Hidden Legacy.” London: Trolley, Ltd., 2007. There is a section in this book written by Dr. Bertell.

Educator and environmental writer Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “The Uterine Crisis.” London’s “The Ecologist” calls this book “an inspiration.” She is an Associate of the Carnicom Institute.

Ilya Sandra Perlingieri is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ilya Sandra Perlingieri

 

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Nuclear crisis deepens in disaster-struck Japan

Posted by Admin on March 16, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami damage-Fukushima Dai-Ni...

Earthquake and Tsunami damage to Fukushima reactors

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110316/wl_asia_afp/japanquake

by Hiroshi Hiyama Hiroshi Hiyama Wed Mar 16, 3:44 am ET

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – Japanese crews grappling with the world’s worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl suspended work due to radiation fears Wednesday as tens of thousands in need after the quake and tsunami desperately appealed for help.

The jittery nation, living in dread of a nuclear catastrophe after Friday’s twin disaster, was also hit by a strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake that swayed buildings in Tokyo, fraying already jangled nerves.

The official toll of the dead and missing after the quake and tsunami flattened Japan’s northeast coast has topped 11,000, with 3,676 confirmed killed, police said.

However, after the Tokyo stock exchange’s biggest two-day sell-off in 24 years sparked a global market rout, the headline Nikkei share index closed up 5.68 percent on bargain hunting.

The Bank of Japan pumped another 3.5 trillion yen ($43.3 billion) into the financial system, adding to trillions spent this week since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and towering tsunami crippled a large swathe of the economy.

The evacuation order at the Fukushima nuclear power plant came as a tall white cloud was seen billowing high into the sky over the stricken complex.

“Around 10:40 am (0140 GMT) we ordered the evacuation of workers… due to the rise in (radioactivity) data around the gate” of the ageing plant, a nuclear safety agency official said at a televised news conference.

Several hours later there was no news on whether the crews had been allowed back into the plant 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

Before the evacuation order, crews at Fukushima — who have been hailed as heroes — contended with a new fire and feared damage to the vessel containing one of the plant’s six reactor cores.

A Japanese military helicopter was on its way to dump water on the stricken nuclear plant to help contain the overheating.

The containment vessel around the core of reactor number three may have suffered damage, and the “likeliest possibility” for the white cloud was steam escaping from the vessel, chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said.

The number-three reactor was hit by a blast Monday that tore off the outer structure of the reactor building.

Fire crews fought a new blaze early Wednesday at reactor number four, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said, but it was later extinguished.

Engineers have been desperately battling a feared meltdown at the 40-year-old plant since the earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems and fuel rods began overheating.

There have now been four explosions and two fires at the complex, with four out of its six reactors in trouble.

France’s Nuclear Safety Authority said the disaster now equated to a six on the seven-point international scale for nuclear accidents, ranking the crisis second only in gravity to the level-seven Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

But Yukiya Amano, the Japanese chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, insisted Tuesday there was no comparison to the Chernobyl crisis, when radiation spewed across Europe.

The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said that unlike Chernobyl, the Fukushima reactors have primary containment vessels and had also shut down automatically when the earthquake hit, so there was no chain reaction going on.

The full tragedy of the quake and tsunami was meanwhile playing out as more details emerge of the staggering death and devastation in the worst-hit northeast.

The small fishing town of Minamisanriku, for example, is believed to be missing about half of its 17,000 people.

“Ten of my relatives are missing. I haven’t been able to get in contact with them,” 54-year-old Minamisanriku resident Tomeko Sato, who lost her house in the disaster, told AFP.

Millions have been left without water, electricity, fuel or enough food and hundreds of thousands more are homeless, stoically coping with freezing cold and wet conditions in the northeast.

Aomori governor Shingo Mimura said he desperately needed central government assistance to get hold of oil and relief supplies.

“We cannot possibly get out to rescue survivors nor reconstruct the devastated areas without oil. Just a tiny bit of oil for today can protect lives,” he said.

“There are a variety of problems, such as shortages of water, food and blankets as well as difficulties in delivering supplies,” added Ryu Matsumoto, state minister in charge of disaster management.

“We will try to figure out how to transport supplies also via air or sea.”

With nerves on edge across the world’s third-biggest economy and beyond, people across Asia have been stripping shelves of essentials for fear of a major emission of radiation from the power plant on the east coast.

The government has warned that panic buying in towns and cities that have not been directly affected by the twin disasters could hurt its ability to provide aid to the devastated areas.

Edano, who is the chief cabinet secretary, said Japan as a whole was amply provided with fuel but stressed that petrol and kerosene were “very short” in the ravaged northeast.

“Those who do not live in disaster-hit areas, please do not buy (fuel) in bulk. We have enough to meet the nationwide demand,” he said, adding that the government was doing its all to get fuel to the north.

The normally heaving streets and subways of Tokyo were quieter than usual on Wednesday morning. The number of people sporting paper face masks has shot up, although the masks offer no real protection against radiation.

Radiation levels in the capital’s vast urban sprawl of 30 million people have see-sawed without ever reaching harmful levels, according to the government.

But it has warned people living up to 10 kilometres (six miles) beyond a 20-kilometre exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant to stay indoors. More than 200,000 people have already been evacuated from the zone.

President Barack Obama, who has dispatched a naval flotilla led by a US aircraft carrier to aid in the quake-tsunami rescue operation, said he was “deeply worried” about the potential human cost of the disaster in Japan.

The government in Tokyo said it was ready to draft in more help from the 49,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan.

Obama also vowed to “further improve” the safety of US atomic facilities, while several European nations announced reviews of their own nuclear installations and Germany temporarily shut down seven reactors.

Hoax emails and text messages warning of radiation drifting south from Japan have set off a run on essentials such as bottled water and fresh milk in places as far afield as the Philippines.

China said it was stepping up checks of travellers and goods inbound from Japan for possible radiation contamination.

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