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Saturday, March 12, 2011 - 4:05am

Disaster In Japan: Latest Developments

Updated: 3 years ago.
An aerial view shows the devastated Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture earlier today (March 12, 2011).

The death toll is climbing. Rescuers are struggling to get to survivors. And the world is watching anxiously to see if crippled nuclear power plants can be safely shut down.

On the day after a massive earthquake struck Japan, sending huge tsunami waves crashing into its coasts and across the Pacific, the scope of the disaster is daunting. We'll be following developments.

Here's a quick look at where things stand as of 8 a.m. ET:

-- Kyodo News says "the combined number of people who have died or are unaccounted for is feared to top 1,700."

-- There's been an explosion at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima the facility that was seriously damaged during Friday's massive earthquake and where authorities have been trying to cool down the reactor core to prevent a meltdown. It was not a nuclear blast and officials say the nuclear reactor was not further damaged.

-- "A mammoth relief mission is swinging into action in north-east Japan," the BBC says. "Whole villages have been washed away and at least one town has been largely destroyed. Police said 215,000 people have fled their homes." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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