Photograph by David Guttenfelder, AP
In 1 of 20 unforgettable pictures of Japan's tsunami aftermath chosen by National Geographic photo editors, rescue team members carry the body of a man through splintered remains of the village of Saito on Monday.
The town is just one of many nearly erased from Japan's northeastern coast, where water, electricity, and telecommunications are largely unavailable.
As of Monday an estimated 350,000 people are reportedly homeless in the wake of Friday's magnitude 9 earthquake—Japan's biggest on record. According to the police chief of hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture, at least 10,000 are dead, the Washington Post reported.
(Related Photos: The Nuclear Cleanup Struggle at Fukushima)
Meanwhile, Tuesday morning (local time) brought fresh cause for concern from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where emergency efforts to use seawater to cool one of three malfunctioning nuclear reactors failed temporarily, the New York Times reported. As water levels dipped, fuel rods were likely exposed to air, increasing the chances of melting—and of a catastrophic meltdown.
Add to this the threat of further earthquakes—the U.S. Geological Survey registered nearly a hundred aftershocks on Sunday alone—and, for now, there seems to be little light at the end of what Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called Japan's "worst crisis since World War II."
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Published March 15, 2011