Evacuations from Japan multiply

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU, WASHINGTON and TOKYO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Defense Department and State Department have begun evacuating American citizens from Japan while other American personnel work to deliver humanitarian supplies.

There are 14 U.S. Navy ships, dozens of aircraft, and 17,000 sailors and Marines engaged in disaster relief efforts. In more than 200 sorties, aircraft have delivered 129,000 gallons of water and 4,200 pounds of food, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Greg Jaczko, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Thursday that the reactors could take weeks to cool down and it was prudent for U.S. Citizens to put at least 50 miles between themselves and the reactors. Japan evacuated a 12-mile radius.

The New York Times described Jaczko's assessment as "bleaker" than what Japanese officials were saying and noted that U.S. diplomats in Tokyo, who chartered several evacuation flights for thousands of embassy dependents, were offering extra seats to any American who wanted a ride out.

The Financial Times of London used the term "desperate" to describe Japanese government efforts to cool the reactors with water cannon and fire trucks, and reported that embassies for China, Korea, Thailand and Australia upgraded warnings to their own citizens about the risks of remaining in Japan.

Radiation levels are slightly higher than normal even in Tokyo, but, officials said, not high enough to pose a health risk. Prevailing winds at the reactors continue to blow vapor offshore.

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