Japan Tries to Prevent Meltdown

As the death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami continues to climb, Japan struggled to prevent another crisis on Monday after an explosion rocked a damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The explosion at one reactor in the Fukushima nuclear plant and the exposure of fuel rods in another reactor have raised fears of a meltdown, although officials have allayed concerns by assuring that radiation in the area has not reached critical levels. The blast at the nuclear facility came as the official death toll reached nearly 1,900, with the Kyodo News Agency reporting that some 2,000 bodies were found Monday in Miyagi Prefecture’s coastal areas. Officials say the death toll could reach 10,000 as thousands remain unaccounted for more than 48 hours since the 9.0-magnitude quake and the resulting tsunami devastated the country.

According to reports, some 450,000 people are living in shelters, where lack of food and water is becoming the perennial problem. International support has started to arrive in the devastated region, with the United Nations saying 69 governments have already pledged to provide assistance in ongoing massive search and rescue operations.