The death toll in Japan is expected to rise to well above 10,000 after the country was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on Friday.
Damage to nuclear reactors have plunged some of the affected areas into a state of emergency.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the country faces its hardest times since ‘World War II’, and the state of the Fukushima nuclear power plant still remains serious.
The plant’s reactor 1 unit exploded on Saturday after it suffered damage in the 8.9 magnitude-quake. There have been reports that approximately 200,000 people have been evacuated within a 20 km radius and supplied with emergency shelters.
Millions of other survivors still remain without homes or electricity after the tsunami demolished almost everything in its path. Officials announced they will be stepping up the number of troops in the affected areas to 100,000 to help aid rescue work.
“The current situation of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear plants is in a way the most severe crisis in the past 65 years since World War II,” Mr Kan said.
“Whether we Japanese can overcome this crisis depends on each of us… I strongly believe that we can get over this great earthquake and tsunami by joining together.”
Japan’s nuclear agency has currently given the situation at the plant a level 4 status of emergency; usually meaning one person has died from radiation. Suspiciously, although no-one so far has died, 22 people have been taken to hospital after showing signs of exposure to radiation.
Aid has been pouring in from around 70 countries across the world
Elsewhere, a nuclear facility at Onagawa has also been declared a state of emergency after dangerous levels of radiation were discovered there. The recordings are expected to be caused by the Fukushima leak as all cooling systems at Onagawa are functioning properly.
Efforts to save the stranded survivors in the earthquake and tsunami are proving difficult as helicopters, planes, ships and other vehicles struggle to reach the worse areas.
The Miyagi prefecture, which includes the port of Minami Sanriku, has been totally devastated by the tsunami. Police in the region believe the death toll could reach 9,500 in that area alone.
Many people however are still being rescued as troops battle against the conditions to save as many as possible.
Aid has been pouring in from around 70 countries across the world in the form of money, rescue workers, sniffer dogs, food, clothing, pop-up shelters and doctors.
Among them the UK International Search and Rescue team (ISAR) took 59 search and rescue experts, four medics, and two sniffer dogs, as well as 11 tonnes of equipment needed to help with their rescue.
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