Over 1,700 likely dead, missing in Japan quake: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 10:03 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 1,700 people are likely dead or missing following a massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.

About 300,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and that number is likely to rise with the government increasing the size of an evacuation area around two nuclear power plants in Fukushima in northern Japan, Kyodo said.

Police accounts put the death toll at 637 and those missing at 653, but the total number is likely to be much bigger as 200-300 dead bodies were being transported in the city of Sendai and another 200 were being taken to gyms in other parts of Miyagi prefecture, Kyodo said.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)