The dark side of black

From Kyodo News:

Radiation fears have prevented authorities from collecting as many as 1,000 bodies of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, police sources said Thursday.

One of the sources said bodies had been ”exposed to high levels of radiation after death.” The view was supported by the detection Sunday of elevated levels of radiation on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The authorities are now considering how to collect the bodies, given fears that police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to radiation in retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies or at morgues, according to the sources.

Even after the bodies are handed over to the victims’ families, cremating them could spread plumes containing radioactive materials, while burying the victims could contaminate the soil around them.

The following are the latest casualty figures related to the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan on March 11, according to the National Police Agency as of 9 p.m. Thursday:

Number of people killed 11,532

Number of people missing 16,441


 

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