Japan quake live blog: 'We're in an emergency, please help us'
Smoke fills the air in the badly damaged town of Yamada, Japan, in Iwate prefecture one day after the earthquake and tsunami.
March 12th, 2011
10:30 PM ET

Japan quake live blog: 'We're in an emergency, please help us'

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan early Friday, triggering tsunamis that sent a wave filled with boats and houses toward land. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on how the quake hit Japan and generated a Pacific-wide tsunami.

[10:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. Tokyo] The 15-member Chinese rescue team is bound for the quake-hit region in Japan. The team's main task was to search for survivors, Yin Guanghui, deputy director of the China Earthquake Administration, said. The members of the Chinese International Search and Rescue are bringing four tons of materials and equipments for search and rescue as well as power supply and telecommunication services, Yin said.

[10:20 p.m. ET, 12:20 p.m. Tokyo] The death toll has climbed to 763. There are 639 missing and 1419 injured, according to Japan's national police agency.

[9:54 p.m. ET, 11:54 a.m. Tokyo] A meltdown may have occurred at at least one nuclear power reactor in Japan, the country's chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, said Sunday.

He also said that authorities are concerned over the possibility of another meltdown at a second reactor.

"We do believe that there is a possibility that meltdown has occurred. It is inside the reactor. We can't see. However, we are assuming that a meltdown has occurred," he said of the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. "And with reactor No. 3, we are also assuming that the possibility of a meltdown as we carry out measures."

Edano's comments confirm an earlier report from an official with Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, who said, "we see the possibility of a meltdown."

A meltdown is a catastrophic failure of the reactor core, with a potential for widespread radiation release. However, Toshihiro Bannai, director of the agency's international affairs office, expressed confidence that efforts to control the crisis would be successful.

[9:35 p.m. ET, 11:35 a.m. Tokyo] A woman trapped in a secure building in downtown Sendai made a tearful plea to the world for help.

"Somehow, we can hang in there, I hope. We don't have any electric, water, gas... but please, help the people who lost their homes and the people on top of the buildings asking for help," Yasue Schumaker told CNN.

"We need foreign countries' help," she said, choking back tears. "We're in an emergency, please help us."

At least 49 countries and the European Union have offered relief to Japan, and supplies and personnel are on the way.

Schumaker, a resident of Hawaii originally from Sendai, had been visiting her hometown to care for her ailing mother.

Schumaker said people were too afraid to leave the building and no one knew when to expect help. Outside, she said she saw people sleeping in cars, perhaps reluctant to leave the safety of their vehicles for the cold weather.

[9:10 p.m. ET, 11:10 a.m. Tokyo] The U.S. State Department will on send a consular support team into the Sendai area near the earthquake's epicenter on Sunday, while adding personnel to the U.S. Tokyo embassy in an effort to aid American citizens. Ten U.S. Naval ships are bound for Japan carrying humanitarian aid and emergency crews in effort to aid in disaster relief, Anthony Falvo, a U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer, said.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, along with a guided-missile cruiser and destroyer ship, arrived off Japan's coast Sunday morning to support Japanese forces in disaster relief operations, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.

[8:47 p.m. ET, 10:47 a.m. Tokyo] A state of emergency has been declared for three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Roughly 180,000 people who live within 10 to 20 kilometers of the Daiichi plant are being evacuated.

[7:40 p.m. ET, 9:40 a.m. Tokyo] Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday that another reactor of its Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, Kyodo News reports. The utility supplier notified the government Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, top government spokesman Yukio Edano said, according to Kyodo News.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday.

[6:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 a.m. Tokyo] 15 more people in the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear power plants have been exposed to radioactivity, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency has confirmed, according to Kyodo News.

[6:34 p.m. ET, 8:34 a.m. Tokyo] An aftershock was just felt in Sendai, CNN staff in Japan reports, the latest in a series of aftershocks to rock the quake zone since Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami.

"People here in Japan are quite used to earthquakes," CNN's Anna Coren said. "The concern is more quakes, more aftershocks could cause more tsunamis. That's what people are worried about."

Since the initial earthquake, there have been 250 aftershocks above 5.0 and almost 50 above 6.0, CNN's Chad Meyers said.

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