Osaka (AFP) March 25, 2011
The death toll from a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast topped 10,000 on Friday, two weeks after the disaster struck, Kyodo news reported.
The National Police Agency, responsible for compiling statistics from different prefectures affected, could not immediately confirm that figure.
There are fears of a much higher toll from the disaster, which flattened entire towns along the Pacific coast of the country's main island of Honshu.
In its report on Thursday, the National Police Agency said that 9,811 people had been confirmed dead and 17,541 officially listed as missing -- a total of 27,352 -- as of 9:00 pm (1200 GMT) as a result of the March 11 catastrophe.
A total of 2,779 people have been injured.
The quake has become Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 142,000 people.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and have taken shelter in emergency facilities.
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"Female, 20s, shoulder-length black hair, possible bank worker." It's a painfully thin description, like so many on the lists of unclaimed bodies posted in tsunami-struck towns across northeast Japan. In the devastated fishing port of Minamisanriku, where thousands of people are missing but only 300 bodies have been found, it's also a cruelly vague lead for the many desperate survivors l ... read more
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