Added by James Morley on March 15, 2011
Seismologists say another massive earthquake could hit the devastated region of north-east Japan in the next two days.
While Japan is still experiencing aftershocks of up to 6.2 following the powerful 9.0 earthquake that hit the country on Friday, there are fears of another 7.9 quake triggering yet one more devastating tsunami.
The official death toll of the disaster in Japan now stands at 1,800 but could reach 10,000, some officials say. About half of the population of Minamisanriku, a town of 20,000, are still reported missing, although there are reports that many residents have evacuated to the nearby city of Tome.
There are also increased fears of a nuclear meltdown following an explosion today at the Fukushima nuclear plant that was damaged in the earthquake. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN atomic watchdog, said in a statement: “The reactor building exploded but the primary containment vessel was not damaged.”
The IAEA will continue to liaise with Japanese authorities, and told reporters it would be monitoring the situation “as it evolves.” A news conference is scheduled for Monday night to outline the current situation at Japan’s powerplants.