Japan raises Fukushima crisis level to 5
19 March 2011
Japan's Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency raised the severity level of the crisis-hit reactors at the Fukushima nuclear park to 5 from 4 on an international scale on Friday even as the death toll from Japan's strongest earthquake on record crossed the 1995 Kobe earthquake toll.
The level is the same as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.
Meanwhile, the government is struggling to restore basic services to the people even as Police have confirmed that 6,911 people died in the 11 March quake and the resultant tsunami wave.
So far 10,692 people have been registered as missing, 2,611 injured, and almost 400,000 people have been rendered homeless.
Rescue and rehabilitation efforts have been handicapped by an ongoing battle to contain severe damage to nuclear plants north of the capital, which have been leaking radiation, albeit in small quantities.
The plants are struggling to contain overheating of nuclear fuel inside the reactors and in rooftop containment ponds.