Over 200,000 evacuated in five prefectures as aftershocks continue
Compiled from Kyodo, Staff report
Damage caused by Friday's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe expanded Saturday with the combined number of people dead or unaccounted for feared to top 1,700.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano expressed the government's determination to bring relief to disaster-hit areas, telling a meeting of the emergency disaster headquarters Saturday, "This is the largest earthquake since the Meiji Era, and it is believed that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives."
The death toll has reached 564 so far, a police tally showed, while 200 to 300 bodies were transferred to Sendai. It was also reported that another 200 bodies were transferred to gymnasiums in Iwanuma and Natori, both in Miyagi Prefecture, while around 600 people are missing following the 2:46 p.m. quake with a magnitude of 8.8, the strongest ever recorded in Japan.