TOKYO – Some 9,500 people are still missing from a village in the northeastern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi that was battered by waves of up to 10 meters (33 feet) high following the magnitude-8.9 earthquake, a spokesperson for the local government in that region said.
The village is Minamisanriku, whose total population is 17,000 people and where, according to pictures shown on the NHK television network, hardly any buildings are left standing or that have not been submerged by the quake-triggered tsunami.
According to a spokesperson for the Miyagi prefecture’s government, it has been impossible to contact those 9,500 people and the search for them continues.
Miyagi authorities said they have little information about what happened to that village, unlike the situation with other nearby towns.
Japan’s NHK network said that Miyagi province has asked the Japanese military to help find those 9,500 inhabitants of Minamisanriku, about whom they have no information.
Miyagi emergency workers originally found 7,500 inhabitants of the village in nearby shelters, but the whereabouts of the other 9,500 remains unknown.
In Miyagi province, one of the hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on Wednesday, 137 fatalities have been found and 95 of the missing have been identified, according to official figures.
The latest official tally puts the number dead and missing at 620 and 650, respectively, but the media says the combined total is at least 1,700 and that number is expected to continue to rise.