VIEWS: 1 PAGES: 187 POSTED ON: 12/28/2012
Fukushima 50 'deaths imminent' Risking their lives ... two of the Fukushima 50 in the nuclear plant THE hero nuclear workers dubbed the Fukushima 50 believe they could be dead within weeks, a relative has revealed. The men, who have been desperately battling to stop deadly radiation leaking from the plant - in meltdown since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, are resigned to paying for their bravery with their lives. The mother of one of the workers said he had accepted that he may die within weeks — but if not radiation would probably claim all of their lives in the longer term. She said: "My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation. "He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long term. Meltdown ... the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant "They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation." Around 300 workers — known as the Fukushima 50 because of the number working during any one shift — have risked suffering from massive radiation poisoning as they struggle to contain the crisis. Relatives are preparing themselves for the worst when the men — who have been fighting to reinstate cooling systems in the crippled reactors — finally finish their mission. A total of 11,500 people have been confirmed dead since the quake on March 11. Another 16,400 are still missing and hundreds of thousands more are living in evacuation centres. And three weeks after the disaster in one of the most advanced countries in the world, 260,000 households still have no running water and 170,000 do not have electricity. Japan's Trade Minister Banri Kaieda also revealed animals living within the area devastated by the tsunami are resorting to eating each other because of a shortage of food. Fighting for survival ... a pig scavenges for food in the city of Iwanuma, north-eastern Japan He said chickens and pigs left behind by farmers were getting increasingly desperate, adding: "A considerable amount of time has passed and I am hearing there were episodes of cannibalisation." Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said it is still too early to say if the stricken Fukushima Dai- ichi plant has been stabilised. The US and Germany are sending robots to help repair and explore the site. Radiation in water in an underground tunnel near the reactor has reached 10,000 times normal levels and abnormal levels of radioactive caesium have been discovered in beef from the area. Seawater near the plant has been tested, revealing radiation levels 4,000 times the legal limit. Seawater has been used to cool reactor rods which has then spilled or leaked back into the ocean. Desolate ... survivor rides through Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, devastated by the Japanese tsunami AP Thousands of victims' bodies have not been collected because of fears over radiation. Japan's nuclear safety agency ordered a review today into the latest radiation measurements taken in air, seawater and groundwater. Dr John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK's National Nuclear Corporation, said: "As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on forever. "The reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away." Officials think the readings are suspiciously high. The Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which runs the plant, has repeatedly been forced to retract figures after mistakes. Resentment is mounting among those displaced by a 12-mile exclusion zone. Kazuko Hirohara, a 52-year-old nurse from Minami Soma, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that it is dangerous in there. "I just wish they would have thought about safety before they ruined our lives." But UN officials have suggested widening the zone after radiation levels rose at a village 25 miles from the plant. ‘Worst is over’ at reactors Stabilised ... Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan EMERGENCY workers at stricken Fukushima nuclear plant made a breakthrough yesterday in their bid to halt a meltdown catastrophe. First they managed to connect all six reactors to electricity supplies. Then they risked their lives to re-connect one water pump and begin cooling uranium rods. It followed problems with two reactors that "smoked" after being doused with sea water. US energy secretary Steven Chu, asked if the worst was over, said: "We believe so." Japan PM Naoto Kan said: "We see a light for getting out of the crisis." The power firm blasted days before the disaster for not making regular checks, said it could be weeks until it is under control. 'Disaster kills at least 90 people' Marauding ... water spills across at Sendai Airport in Sendai AT least 90 people have died and 56 are missing after a tsunami washed over Japan today. The deluge was caused by the largest earthquake in Japan's history - measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. Houses, cars and ships were also swept away as widespread fires were out of control. The country has since been rocked by at least 19 aftershocks - most reaching a magnitude of 6.0. Devastation ... vessels turned on their side by force of tsunami Rocked ... blast at refinery plant Torrents ... flood waters AP Smashed ... cars swept away Wave ... water spreads across land Flood ... tsunami was 33ft high Killer wave ... sludge carries debris in its wake Just like Hiroshima Smashed by the sea ... Japanese port town of Minami Sanriku IT WAS a fishing town that for years had lived off the sea - and was killed by it in an instant. The pretty port of Minami Sanriku had stood timelessly beside the coast for generation upon generation. But suddenly it was gone, first engulfed and then obliterated by the irresistible torrent of water that swept away boats, cars, trucks, buildings, entire streets - and around 10,000 of its people. The destruction wrought by the tsunami was so wholesale that stunned observers compared it to the aftermath of the atom bomb attack on Hiroshima. So similar ... A-bomb destruction at Hiroshima Corbis The picturesque town of 17,000 on Japan's north-east coast simply vanished, wiped off the map under a wall of water choked with mud and debris. Photos taken from the air showed entire blocks of buildings totally razed, with only a stump here and there and the faint outlines of roads to show where the town had stood. They were eerily reminiscent of pictures taken in August 1945 after A-bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force Japan to surrender and end the Second World War. Hurled from sea ... fishing boat in Hachinoe British TV news reporter Alex Thompson, just arriving on the scene, told his bosses back home: "No exaggeration, it looks like Hiroshima." Incredibly, despite the devastation, rescue teams searching among the debris found 42 people alive. In another coastal fishing town, Otsuchi, an American eyewitness told how he watched the 30ft tsunami race towards him carrying houses, boats, vehicles and bodies. Poignant ... hand reaching out of the rubble Expat Scott West said: "It was a wall of black howling water. Otsuchi was a large town and it's all but gone. The extent of the misery is indescribable." In Kesennuma, further along the north-east coast which faced the full fury of the onrushing Pacific Ocean, survivors told how they watched an entire railway line vanish before their eyes. Office worker Satoshi Abe, 55, said: "It was a hellish sight. I can still hardly believe it happened." Motorist Kazuo Chiba, 65, cheated death by ditching his car just before the huge wave hit and scrambled to the top of an earthquake-proof apartment block. Lucky to be alive ... bewildered girl is rescued Alpha Press He said: "I surely would have died if I hadn't got up there." Koji Yasuda, a writer for a Japanese newspaper, described the scenes he saw as he flew along the shattered coast in a plane. He said: "One area of flatland like a cape had been totally swallowed by the tsunami, leaving no trace that a town had been there. "On an area of higher ground, I spotted a dozen cars and several people looking up at the sky with dazed expressions. I wondered if they were waiting to be rescued. Sea of tears ... a woman comforts her granddaughter "Machinery and equipment lay scattered around factories, having been tossed here and there by the surging waters. Oil was forming patterns offshore and I could see only a few surviving buildings made of reinforced concrete." At another town, witnesses described huge plumes of smoke pouring into the sky - white from houses and black from oil tanks. One onlooker said: "Nothing burnable was left. It was as if the town had been destroyed by air raids." Man rescued from his roof 10 miles out at sea Miracle escape ... rescuers row towards Hiromitsu Shinkawa on his roof A TSUNAMI miracle man was found alive ten miles out to sea yesterday - after clinging to the roof of his house for TWO DAYS. Hiromitsu Shinkawa, 60, was pulled to safety amid the aftermath of the Japanese disaster in which up to 20,000 people have died. The rescue came as a fresh earthquake like the one that caused Friday's flood was feared - and experts battled to avert meltdowns at nuclear reactors. Survivor Mr Shinkawa was spotted waving a red cloth to attract attention off the coast of Minami Soma. He and his wife had fled the tsunami, but the giant wave caught them after they turned back to rescue belongings. The entire house was washed out to sea. Safe ... Mr Shinkawa, wrapped in a blanket She was missing, feared dead, last night. Mr Shinkawa said: "Helicopters and ships passed but none noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last of my life." Officials said he owed his survival to mild weather and calmer seas. Quake hits Japan one month on Mourning ... family pray for missing relatives a month on from quake A HUGE aftershock struck Japan today exactly one month on from the monster tsunami which killed up to 25,000 people in the country and unleashed a nuclear crisis. A tsunami warning was issued after the 7.1 magnitude quake hit Iwaki in Japan's Fukushima prefecture this morning — but was later lifted. The fresh quake caused Tokyo's main international airport to close both its runways after it struck about 100 miles north of the capital. Wrecked ... soldiers mark minutes' silence today Video: New earthquake hits Japan M7.1 quake triggers tsunami alert, a month on from double disaster The wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant was temporarily evacuated after the quake cut power to three of the reactors there. The nuclear plant is still leaking radiation after its cooling systems were knocked out by last month's tsunami. Sad ... children pray for those killed in disaster The Government today urged people living within 12 miles of the plant to leave the area because of fears over high levels of radiation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said of the evacuation order: "This is not an emergency measure that people have to evacuate immediately. "We have decided this measure based on long-term health risks." It was one more reminder of how long it could take to resolve the nuclear crisis. He added: "My chest has been ripped open by the suffering and pain that this disaster has caused the people of our prefecture." Yuhei Sato, the governor of Fukushima, said: "I have no words to express my sorrow." Respect ... Japanese police stand in silence Earlier sirens had wailed to mark 2.46pm local time — the exact moment of the magnitude 9.0 quake that spawned the tsunami on March 11. Thousands along Japan's devastated coast stopped at the sound and fell silent to remember those killed and still missing in the disaster. In a neighbourhood in the city of Natori, three dozen firemen and soldiers removed their hats and helmets and joined hands atop a small hill that has become a memorial for the dead. Earlier, four monks in pointed hats rang a prayer bell there as they chanted for those killed. The noisy clatter of construction equipment removing debris ceased briefly as crane operators stood outside their vehicles and bowed their heads. ‘We are emotionally drained but need to start living again’ IT is a month today since the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown brought Japan to the edge of the abyss. Many foreigners fled as 40ft-high waves hit the north-east coast, but one Brit stayed behind. Martin Dean, 36, refused offers from the Foreign Office to fly him, his Japanese wife Akiko and their three-month-old daughter, Juno, out of the radiation danger zone. Martin, originally from Brighton, says he stayed on because "Japan is my home" and he wanted to help his wife's parents. The English teacher moved to Japan in 2002 to be with Akiko, 31, and now runs his own language school in Soma. The coastal city is just 26 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant which has been leaking radiation after the 9.1 magnitude quake. Here, Martin tells GRANT ROLLINGS about his unforgettable month inside the terror zone. March 11 I was in my classroom with my daughter and wife talking about our lessons for the day when the earthquake started at 2.46pm. I heard a noise like a firecracker, a rumble and the whole house shook. The noise was indescribable. The house shook from side to side and around in a circle. Then the floor went up and down. I thought: "This is it, we're dead. The house is going to fall in on us." After two minutes, it stopped. Everyone left their houses and gathered on the street, stunned. The aftershocks started then. Even though it is winter, it became warm and humid. It was eerie. A friend suggested driving to higher ground. From up there we could see the tsunami coming in from the ocean. We were four miles from the beach, close to our home. We knew there was going to be destruction. Luckily the tsunami did not reach our house. We went back after dark. The electricity, gas, phones and water were off. We dived inside briefly to grab things. The house was still shaking so much that it threw us around. We stayed in a classroom but couldn't sleep. Catastrophic ... tsunami breaches the sea wall in the minutes after Japan's huge earthquake March 12 Our electricity came back on and we saw the level of destruction on the news. We still had no water so we went up to the mountains to get fresh water. There were queues. It was very orderly. We drove to my in-laws' house in Minamisoma, 13 miles away. It took more than an hour because there were so many cracks in the road. Some were like steps where the ground had risen. We met Akiko's dad, Kenichi, 60, and mum Yuriko, 59, on the way. They had been coming to find us. They were fine. Shelter ... Martin and his wife Akiko with little Juno Then we got news of the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant. We were told no radiation had leaked. We now know this was untrue. March 13 All the shops were still closed. At midday our water came on and we told people who needed water to come to us. The internet also came back so I was able to reach my mother and tell her I was OK. March 14 We became worried when there was a second explosion at the nuclear plant. The BBC reported a "Meltdown At Fukushima". We grabbed a few things and headed away from the plant to Fukushima City. My mobile phone started working so we arranged to stay at a friend's house. My in-laws work caring for elderly people so they stayed behind to get them into shelters. March 15 We headed west to Yonezawa city where we stopped for petrol but there was a queue of over a mile. Instead of going farther, we decided to stay at a shelter in a hall where my in-laws joined us. There were 600 people, it was very cramped. We slept on cardboard boxes with lots of blankets. It was minus 7°C outside. We were tested for radiation. They checked everyone, even our dog. We were all clear. March 16 I was contacted by the British Embassy who offered to get me out of Japan, with my wife and daughter. My wife's parents would have to stay and we didn't want to leave Japan. Leak ... the crippled Fukoshima nuclear power plant has been leaking radiation Me and the in-laws took turns sleeping in the car with our dog because no pets were allowed in the hall. There were even people sleeping in cars with cats and rabbits. March 19 Everyone woke at 6am. Most went outside to do stretching exercises. I started smoking again. The British Embassy kept ringing, saying it was my last chance to be evacuated. I didn't change my mind. April 3 We finally grew tired of living and sleeping in the same clothes. A friend in Niigata, 150 miles away on the other coast, arranged an apartment for us through the local authorities so we went there. The flat is free and meals are provided. April 7 Japan was hit by another quake of 7.1 magnitude. There've been around 400 aftershocks since the first one. April 9 We check the internet every day and eight of our students from Soma have been confirmed dead. They were aged between 15 and 21. Yesterday There is only so long we can remain in limbo. At some point we have to start our lives again. The government say it will take months to make the nuclear reactors safe. Do I really want to bring up my daughter in that environment? A third of Soma has been destroyed by the tsunami and if there is even a one per cent risk from radiation, I don't think we can return. We are emotionally drained. Woman finds dead mum in home rubble DEVASTATED Yoshie Murakami tenderly takes the hands of her dead mother after finding her buried in rubble near her home yesterday. She gently holds the dusty fingers encrusted with mud from the tsunami that swept the old lady to her death. Video: Japan evacuees get tested ANYONE who has come into contact with troubled plant is checked And, sobbing quietly, she knows she could soon face even more heartbreak. For her 23-year-old daughter has not been seen or heard of since a wall of water virtually wiped Rikuzentakata from the map on Friday. Yoshie's nightmare is one being repeated countless times across this city that once housed 24,000. Tragedy ... Kenji Sugawara with a picture of his missing wife in Otsuchi and children wearing protective hoods in Tokyo In the town of Onawaga, northern Japan, Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka was seen crying as he grieved in front of rubble that had buried his mother AND his wife. Hiratsuka sat weeping near his dead family crying out: "Sorry, sorry" that he couldn't save them from the tsunami. Tragedy ... Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka grieves over the body of his wife in Onagawa, Japan There were also reports of 30 children still waiting in their classroom for their parents to collect them six days after the horror four-storey wall of water swept through the coastal city of Ishinomaki. Ishinomaki's mayor yesterday said that 10,000 of its citizens were missing following the disaster. The wave struck just as parents were coming to collect their children from Kama Elementary School — and many are believed to have been killed. Horror ... Japanese military carry bodies of victimsin Yamadamachi, north east Japan Most of the school's children have been picked up — but 30, aged between eight and 12, are still waiting and hoping their parents will come. No-one other than teachers are able to speak to the children for fear of giving them false hope that their parents are alive. With so many of the city's 163,000 residents missing it could take months for any news of the parents to surface. Teacher Masami Hoshi said: "The tsunami came just when the parents of the middle classes were arriving to collect their children, so we managed to get them inside and to safety. "The younger ones had left with their parents a little earlier. The ones who went to homes behind the school probably survived. Those who went the other probably didn't make it." The town of Minamisanriku, in Miyagi state, is also thought to have lost around 10,000 people, half its population when it was struck by the 20ft wave. The confirmed death toll from Friday's 9.0 magnitude quake, which triggered the tsunami, has risen above 5,000. Police say more than 5,400 people are confirmed dead and about 9,500 more are still missing. And yesterday - with survivors swept by savage blizzards and facing nuclear disaster - there was no sign of that agony coming to an end. APOCALYPSE JAPAN Thousands feared dead in tsunami Nature so merciless ... blazing home among those swept away in Natori A MASSIVE earthquake has devastated Japan — sending a 33ft tsunami smashing into the country's north-eastern coast. Thousands of people are feared to have been killed in the disaster and there are growing concerns of a nuclear emergency at a power plant crippled by the massive quake. More than 3,000 people were evacuated after radiation inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant was said to be 1,000 TIMES the normal level. As a state of emergency was declared, worried experts said the temperature and pressure in one nuclear reactor was continuing to rise after the earthquake triggered a fault in its cooling system. They were desperately trying to lower the pressure, which may have soared to 2.1 times its normal level - fuelling fears of a meltdown. The exclusion zone around the plant was increased from two miles to six miles as engineers were set to release some radio-active vapour to ease the pressure. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co admitted there could already have been a radioactive leak inside the facility which automatically shut itself down. And late last night a second plant on the site was put in a state of emergency after its cooling system failed. Bosses said they had lost the ability to control the pressure in some reactors. Other nuclear facilities hit by the quake were successfully shut down. The quake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, is the largest in the country's recorded history. Japanese police said 200 to 300 bodies have been found washed up in an area close to the tsunami-devastated city of Sendai. Another 500 people are still missing. The giant wall of water earlier crashed into the coastal city tossing cars around and washing away buildings as a huge fire ravaged an oil refinery. A ship carrying around 100 people was swept away by the tsunami — its fate remains unknown. Reports also say that two trains, including one passenger train, have been missing since the wave struck. The tsunami created by the quake has now hit the West Coast of the US with at least five people being swept out to sea. Waves also ripped docks out of harbours in California and four people were rescued from the water in Oregon. Wave of death ... tsunami hits Iwanuma, north Japan In the north of Japan a dam in Fukushima Prefecture broke and washed away homes and buildings. The quake - 8,000 times bigger than the one that struck New Zealand last month - has left four million people without power and the Japanese Army has been deployed to help with relief efforts. The quake is the fifth biggest in the world since 1900. The Japanese Government declared a state of emergency after a nuclear power plant's cooling system failed as the five stations closest to the epicentre were shut down. Japan has notified the UN nuclear watchdog - the International Atomic Energy Agency - that a heightened state of alert has been declared at the plant. Please help us ... injured tended by rescuers in Tokyo Tsunami ... time it will take wave to travel across Pacific basin Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the warning was a precaution, adding: "We launched the measure so we can be fully prepared for the worst scenario. "We are using all our might to deal with the situation." Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "We should all help each other to minimise the damage." Inferno ... oil refinery erupting in flames in Chiba city The quake, which struck about 240 miles northeast of Tokyo at 5.46am British time, sparked tsunami alerts across the Pacific. Destruction ... a boat sinks in Santa Cruz, California after waves caused by the tsunami hit the US coast Hawaii was evacuated as the West Coast of the United States and Canada were put on red alert. Red Cross experts warned the waves could be higher than many of the Pacific islands it could wash over. Collapse ... road couldn't withstand force of earthquake Raging waters ... tsunami triggers whirlpool near a port in Oarai, on Japan's north-eastern coast AP Spokesman Paul Conneally said: "Our biggest concern is the Asia Pacific region. The tsunami is a major threat. It could go right over them." In several locations along Japan's coast, shocking footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. Local news station NHK showed footage of one ship being swept away and ramming into a bridge. Alone ... man stands on roof as he watches waters rage below Junichi Sawada, an official with Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, said: "This is a rare major quake, and damage could quickly rise by the minute." The quake struck at 2.46pm local time and was followed by five powerful aftershocks within about an hour, the strongest measuring 7.1. The meteorological agency immediately issued a tsunami warning for the country's entire Pacific. NHK warned those near the coast to get to safer ground. Rubble ... residents walk through debris of collapsed homes Damage ... tanks toppled over at brewery in Sendai as fire blazes in Tokyo building Reuters / WENN Tsunami alerts were issued to a vast area of the globe, including areas as far apart as New Zealand, Latin American and eastern Russia. A watch was also issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia as well as Hawaii. Brian Baptie, a seismologist from the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said: "This is a earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. Frightening ... flooded Sendai Airport and injured people are helped in Tokyo "To put that into some sort of context, it's 8,000 times larger than the one that destroyed Christchurch last month, and on a similar scale to the Chile earthquake in February last year. "An earthquake of this scale is capable of causing huge damage and destruction, and a tsunami that high will cause complete devastation." The seismologist said it was difficult to judge the scale of the tsunami, but he said this earthquake was smaller than the one that struck off northern Sumatra in 2004, a magnitude 9.3 quake which set off the Boxing Day tsunami, killing thousands of people. Terrifying ... man seeks shelter under a desk in Sendai Wenn UK airlines cancelled flights to Tokyo following the devastating earthquake. Speaking today Prime Minister David Cameron said the quake was a "terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature". He added: "Everyone should be thinking of the country and its people and I have asked immediately that our Government look at what we can do to help." Floods ... huge wave swept inland AP Mr Cameron was speaking in Brussels where he was attending an emergency summit of EU leaders called to discuss the crisis in Libya. Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was so far no news of any British casualties as a result of the earthquake. He said: "My thoughts are with the people of Japan at this time. We are in contact with the Japanese government and I have asked our ambassador in Tokyo to offer all assistance we can as Japan responds to this terrible disaster. "We are also working urgently to provide consular assistance to British nationals. Our embassy and consulates-general across Japan are in touch with local authorities and making contact with British nationals to provide consular assistance. "We have set up a crisis centre in the Foreign Office to co-ordinate our response and offer advice to anyone concerned about relatives or friends in Japan. We are not aware of any British casualties at this time." Matthew Holmes, a 27-year-old from Nottingham, was at work in Shimokitazawa, west central Tokyo, when the earthquake hit. He described the sensation as "like many shocks, joined up by a feeling of being on a wave". Mr Holmes, who is teaching English after studying for a journalism MA at Sheffield University, said: "I was teaching a class at the time and it's the first time I've been under the table. People were genuinely worried when they told me to get down. "We're only on the second floor, and I thought they were looking after the uninitiated foreigner, but then they really seemed to hit a strange auto-pilot panic. "I have been in Tokyo for three years but never felt something like that. "People in their 50s are telling me that neither have they." He said he was still feeling aftershocks hours after the earthquake, but described himself as being "one of the lucky ones" as he was unharmed. The quake struck at a depth of six miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast. The area is 240 miles north-east of Tokyo. In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of the capital. In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms. Osamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit. It sent bookshelves and computers crashing to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls. He said: "I've been through many earthquakes, but I've never felt anything like this. "I don't know if we'll be able to get home tonight." Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks. Tokyo airport was closed. A large section of the ceiling at the one-year-old airport at Ibaraki, about 50 miles northeast of Tokyo, fell to the floor with a powerful crash. Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday. Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working. Debris ... cars and planes were swept away by huge waves Japan's Coast Guard has set up a task force and officials are standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said. He said: "I'm afraid we'll soon find out about damages, since the quake was so strong." The tsunami roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Horror ... people look out on to the aftermath of the tsunami AP Destroyed ... houses sit under feet of water Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes. TV announcers urged viewers near the shore to move to strong concrete buildings and stay above the third floor. The Foreign Office has handed out these numbers for anyone to contact if they are worried about friends and family. Calling from the UK: 020 7008 0000. +81 66120 5600 embassy in Tokyo. +81 35211 1100 consulate in Osaka. Tsunami waves hit US west coast Destruction ... a boat sinks in Santa Cruz, California after waves caused by the tsunami hit the US coast THE tsunami created by the Japan quake hit the west coast of the US last night with at least five people being swept out to sea. Docks were ripped out of harbours in California, with reports of damage running into millions of dollars in Crescent City, Santa Cruz. One man taking photos in Del Norte County, northern California, was missing last night after he was swept into the water. Two pals made it back to shore. Chaos ... boats are shaken loose in Santa Cruz after tsunami hits harbour On the coast of Oregon at least four others survived after being swept off a beach. The mammoth tremor 80 miles off Japan's east coast sparked a tsunami alert around the entire Pacific rim as a 30ft wall of water raced across the vast ocean at 500mph - as fast as a jetliner. It was still 10ft high by the time it hit Hawaii - 3,900 miles away. Water rushed up on roadways and into hotel lobbies on the Big Island and low-lying areas in Maui were flooded as waves crashed ashore. Evacuation plans were put into action there - and also on the west coast which was buffeted more than 5,000 miles away. Scientists warned that the first tsunami waves are not always the strongest, and officials said people in Hawaii and along the west coast should remain vigilant. Elsewhere in the Pacific a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Tonga last night. No tsunami alert was immediately posted. Japan nuke crisis raised to max Wrecked ... emergency level raised to seven at Fukushima plant JAPAN has raised the severity of the crisis at its crippled nuclear plant to the MAXIMUM level - the same as Chernobyl. It has blamed the hike - from five to the top level of seven - on radiation leaks contaminating the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater. The new ranking makes the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant a "major accident" with "wider consequences" than the previous level, including widespread health effects. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa) earlier said the plant had been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances. But officials played down any health effects of radioactive releases so far - and said the leaks amount to only a tenth of the radiation emitted in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. However they admitted that radiation emitted could EXCEED Chernobyl's emissions if the crisis continues. Flood ... moment tsunami struck Fukushima plant AP An official for the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said: "The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it." Video: Fukushima crisis raised to max JAPAN has raised the severity of the nuclear disaster to the same level as Chernobyl Aftershocks have continued to rock Japan after the 9.0-magnitude megaquake on March 11 - stopping work to stabilise the Fukushima plant. The latest, a 6.3-magnitude one yesterday, led to the evacuation of all workers who had been working around the clock to contain the leaks. Disaster ... fires still rage at stricken plant Today Tepco said it was checking the status of the plant after the quake after a fire broke out at one of the reactors. The latest aftershock came exactly a month to the day since the huge quake and tsunami struck north-east Japan leaving around 15,000 dead and still with nearly 15,000 missing. More than 150,000 people have been left homeless. Devastating ... Chernobyl nuclear power plant after disaster AP Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yuki Edano said: "This reconfirms that this is an extremely major disaster." He continued: "We are very sorry to the public, people living near the nuclear complex and the international community for causing such a serious accident." But Mr Edano said there was so far no "direct health damage" from the crisis saying: "The accident itself is really serious, but we have set our priority so as not to cause health damage." The hike in the emergency level came a day after the government added five areas to a list of places people should leave to avoid long-term radiation exposure. A 12-mile (20km) radius already had been cleared around the plant. A monster unleashed by Pacific Hell on earth ... the devastating power of the Pacific smashes into Japan JAPAN sits on the infamous Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is well used to earthquakes - but this was a monster. Japan's people expect quakes. Its buildings are designed to survive them. The fact that yesterday's caused death and destruction on such an apocalyptic scale shows its incredible power. Path of devastation ... regions under threat The quake had the force of 47 million tons of TNT or 25,000 nuclear bombs. The fury it unleashed was a terrifying reminder that the Earth is not a lump of dead rock in space but a violent, living and changing world. Nature so merciless ... blazing home among those swept away in Natori The Earth's crust is divided into tectonic plates which float like rafts on its molten interior. Where these plates collide, the crust buckles to thrust up mountain ranges. Fault lines form, producing incredible stress that gets released in earthquakes. Although the sheer magnitude of yesterday's event took scientists by surprise, this is one of the most seismically active areas on Earth. Major fault lines run through many heavily populated regions around the Pacific including Japan, New Zealand, California and the west coast of South America. Devastation ... burning houses are swept out to sea Japan alone accounts for a fifth of all recorded global quakes measuring over six in magnitude. They are most violent when the grinding of the tectonic plates against one another is particularly pronounced. In effect the plates become jammed, then suddenly jar free. All that stored-up energy suddenly being unleashed produces kinetic consequences - in other words movement - that can send shockwaves through the crust. The more energy, the worse the results. Shocking ... giant wall of water slams into Japan's north-eastern coast AP Miles down on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, the dense rock making up the seabed is being pulled underneath Japan as it moves west. As the sea floor shifts, a great mass of water is lifted and launches a tsunami. Yesterday's epicentre was well out to sea off Japan but at a relatively shallow depth below the ocean floor, meaning there was less crust to soak up the energy and dampen the shockwaves. Devastating and tragic as the quake was, I can assure you of one thing - it was NOT caused by the moon. Raging waters ... tsunami triggers whirlpool near a port in Oarai, on Japan's north-eastern coast Claims that a "supermoon" is triggering a series of disasters have swept the internet. They are based on calculations that on March 19 the moon will be at its closest to us for 18 years, an event known as a lunar perigee. Debris ... cars and planes were swept away by huge waves They might make for a good conspiracy theory - but they are nonsense. Earthquakes, like volcanoes, occur for geological reasons which have nothing to do with the lunar orbit. 3,000 flee Japan's nuclear red alert Lethal ... a boat is caught by swirling whirlpool JAPAN is on red alert for a catastrophic radioactive leak from a nuclear power plant crippled by the massive quake. More than 3,000 people were evacuated last night after radiation inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant was said to be 1,000 TIMES the normal level. As a state of emergency was declared, worried experts said the temperature and pressure in one nuclear reactor was continuing to rise after the earthquake triggered a fault in its cooling system. Fear ... quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant They were desperately trying to lower the pressure, which may have soared to 2.1 times its normal level - fuelling fears of a meltdown. The exclusion zone around the plant was increased from two miles to six miles as engineers were set to release some radio-active vapour to ease the pressure. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co admitted there could already have been a radioactive leak inside the facility which automatically shut itself down. And late last night a second plant on the site was put in a state of emergency after its cooling system failed. Bosses said they had lost the ability to control the pressure in some reactors. Other nuclear facilities hit by the quake were successfully shut down. Wrecks ... cars swept away at Hitachinaka The battle to make the first reactor safe came as the tsunami spawned by the quake raced across the Pacific at 500mph, hitting the US, Indonesia, the Philippines and dozens of countries. Thousands of people fled beaches in Hawaii as it was swamped by 10ft waves and evacuations were also ordered in the American west coast states of California, Washington and Oregon. Nuclear experts in Japan last night warned that the situation would become "serious" if the fault at the Fukushima plant - 170 miles north-east of Tokyo - was not fixed within hours. Nuclear physicist Dr Walt Patterson said: "It is the sort of thing that nuclear engineers have nightmares about. "If the core is uncovered, then those rods at the top may get hot enough to melt themselves." Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also warned the situation could turn grave. Fireball ... natural gas containers burn at plant in Chiba The evacuation was hampered by widespread devastation. Thousands were ordered to stay indoors. But the alarm was raised when both the plant's power and back-up generator failed - disabling the cooling system in the its 40-year-old reactor No1. It is the first time Japan has declared a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant. Talking about the bid to release vapour inside the reactor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano admitted: "It's possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small." He added: "We ask people near power plants to be calm." Despite the fears at Fukushima, the World Nuclear Association said it understood the situation with the reactor was "under control". The first waves from the tsunami hit HAWAII at 3.24pm local time near Pearl Harbour, the famous US Pacific wartime base. Authorities evacuated low-lying areas and residents there were urged to move at least 50ft above sea level. Airports on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii were also shut as a precaution. Hellish ... debris smoulders as Sendai homes are destroyed But the islands appeared to escape with only minor damage. White House chief of staff Bill Daley said last night: "The tsunami wave has gone through Hawaii and there does not seem to be any enormous impact, which is extremely encouraging." President Obama - whose home state is Hawaii - said: "We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific." The tsunami also struck many other small islands in the Pacific - but thankfully the damage again seemed to be fairly minor. In GUAM, near the Philippines,the waves broke two US Navy submarines from their moorings, but they were recovered. In TAIWAN, INDONESIA and the PHILIPPINES, the waves were relatively small - while NEW ZEALAND also seemed to escape the worst of the impact. In CANADA, the authorities evacuated marinas and beaches in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia. Latin and Central American countries - including ECUADOR, CHILE, MEXICO and PERU - were also on alert. In the UNITED STATES, officials in Washington state used an automated phone alert system to warn residents on the coast and in low-lying areas. In Oregon, sirens blasted in coastal communities and at least one hotel was evacuated. Restaurants, gift shops and other beachfront business stayed shuttered, and schools up and down the coast were closed. Last night experts at the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology in Naples said the quake had shifted the earth on its axis by nearly ten inches. And NASA geophysicist Richard Gross calculated that it knocked 1.6 microseconds off the day as it caused the earth's rotation to speed up. Race against giant waves Disaster ... a resident tries to outrun the wall of water that is engulfing everything in its path TERRIFYING footage of quake victims attempting to outrun the Japanese tsunami has emerged online. Residents, believed to be living in Minami-sanriku, can be seen trying to flee the giant killer waves, which had already swept away houses, cars and ships along the east coast. The video shows the huge speed and force of the water, as it swallowed everything in its path on March 11. Video: Desperate bid to outrun tsunami TERRIFYING new footage emerges of people fleeing giant waves in Japan Scores of people were captured struggling to climb a steep ridge, before desperately trying to help others. But despite their efforts, many don't make it as they are pulled into the engulfing waters. The tsunami, which followed a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake out at sea, also gushed over Fukushima nuclear power station - knocking out its cooling systems. The severity of the crisis at the plant was raised to the maximum level today due to radiation leaks contaminating the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater. Aftershocks have continued to rock Japan after last month's megaquake. The latest, a 6.3-magnitude one yesterday, came exactly a month to the day since the huge quake and tsunami struck leaving around 15,000 dead. Nearly 15,000 are still missing and more than 150,000 people were left homeless. French urged to leave Tokyo FRANCE has urged its citizens to flee Tokyo to escape the threat of new earthquakes and radioactive contamination. The French embassy's website pressed home advice to "leave the Kanto region for a few days". The warning came after Japan's meteorological office said there was a 70 per cent chance of a strong aftershock in the next three days. The embassy acknowledged it was possible one of the crippled nuclear reactors on Japan's east coast - at risk of meltdown - could explode. It said: "This plume could reach Tokyo within a few hours, depending on the direction and speed of the wind. "We strongly advise our nationals not to travel to Japan. "The coming three to four days will be critical." Meanwhile Britain and Germany advised nationals against non-essential travel to areas affected by Friday's monster tsunami quake, estimated to have killed more than 10,000 people. The tsunami hit the west coast of the US on Friday with at least five people being swept out to sea. Docks were ripped out of harbours in California, with reports of damage running into millions of dollars in Crescent City, Santa Cruz. The mammoth tremor 80 miles off Japan's east coast sparked a tsunami alert around the entire Pacific rim as a 30ft wall of water raced across the vast ocean at 500mph - as fast as a jetliner. It was still 10ft high by the time it hit Hawaii - 3,900 miles away. Water rushed up on roadways and into hotel lobbies on the Big Island and low-lying areas in Maui were flooded as waves crashed ashore. Nuke meltdown threat amid 2nd blast warning Search and rescue ... fire trucks edge through the ruins of Natory City A BLAST at a second nuclear reactor facing meltdown was imminent today as 300,000 fled radiation leaks caused by Japan's apocalyptic tsunami quake. Officials said 22 people suffered exposure to radiation after an explosion at Fukushima power station yesterday when its number one reactor went into partial meltdown. Workers used sea water to try and stop a second unit blowing today as the threat of a nuclear catastrophe spread. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: "At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion." The cooling system pump has also stopped at the Tokai No.2 nuclear power plant in Japan's Ibaraki prefecture today. At the power station at Fukushima Dai-ichi, Edano said neither reactor was near the point of complete meltdown. But those escaping the 12-mile exclusion zone were still being checked for radiation. Atomic experts fear that if the fuel rods do not cool they could melt the container housing the core or explode, releasing radioactive material into the wind. Recovery ... survivors use a rubber raft to get food and other items from their dormitory - submerged by the tsunami in Sendai Yesterday locals near the Fukushima power plant were urged to stay indoors and avoid drinking tap water. They were urged to cover their faces with masks and wet towels if outside as shocking footage emerged of plumes of smoke exploding out of the reactor building. As the nuclear catastrophe worsened cops said at least 10,000 may have died in Miyagi prefecture alone - only one of three worst-hit states. Immense power ... the tsunami wave crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture Meanwhile, 9,500 people were missing in the northern town of Minamisanriku. Today a volcano in the south of the country began erupting, throwing ash clouds and rocks high into the air. The Meteorological Agency issued a warning saying that Shinmoedake volcano - on Kyushu island, 950 miles from the epicenter of Friday'quake - had resumed activity after a couple of quiet weeks. Blast ... building at crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is destroyed following earthquake and tsunami damage Japan lies on the Ring of Fire - an arc of seismicallyactive zones where earthquake and volcanic eruptions are common. A border collie named Byron trained to detect the scent of live casualties was part of a 59- strong group of specialists from the UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) team that jetted off to Japan last night carrying with them 11 tons of equipment. Rescue crews in Japan were already trying to reach those stranded in the ruins of Minamisanriku where the devastation resembled that of total apocalypse. Rescuers in helicopters attempted to land where they could, surrounded by a murky brown wasteland littered with debris and ruined buildings. Under water ... the ruined town of Minamisanriku Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the nuclear crisis an "unprecedented national disaster" and appealed for calm as scientists poured sea water mixed with boric acid into reactor chambers at the massive Fukushima power station to prevent "criticality". Radiation inside the plant's control room was said to be 1,000 TIMES the normal level. Earlier Japanese authorities told the UN atomic watchdog they were preparing to distribute iodine to people living near the nuclear plant to limit the potential effects of exposure to radiation. Several workers were injured in yesterday's blast at the Tokyo Power Electric Co's Unit 1 as they struggled to contain damage at the crippled reactor. The explosion - caused by hydrogen mixing with oxygen outside the reactor - destroyed a concrete building, leaving only its metal frame standing as smoke spewed from the massive compound. The Japanese nuclear agency could not say how much radiation was in the atmosphere or how hot the reactor was. An extended 12-mile exclusion zone was set up after pressure built up to twice the normal level in the reactor forcing officials to vent "radioactive vapours". Russian nuclear expert Yaroslov Shtrombakh said a Chernobyl-style meltdown was unlikely. "It's not a fast reaction like at Chernobyl," he said. "I think that everything will be contained within the grounds, and there will be no big catastrophe." In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. Leak ... the Japanese government has confirmed radioactive disaster Japan has declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability. Later, government spokesman Yukio Edano declared radiation around the plant was actually dropping and did not rise after the blast. The nuclear crisis follows Japan's worst quake - followed minutes later by a monster tsunami - with waves up to four storeys high. Troops have found 300 to 400 bodies in the coastal city of Rikuzentakata which was almost totally wiped out by the tsunami. So far in Miyagi, only 379 people have officially been confirmed dead. Devastated ... Minamisanriku Helicopter news crews filmed a jawdropping tide of destruction as the wall of death surged inland for miles - sweeping all before it. Cities and towns were wiped out. Buildings that had withstood the 8.9-magnitude quake were bulldozed off their foundations like matchwood - some floating away on the 60mph tide in flames. Apocalypse ... a helicopter lands at Minamisanriku Collapsed roads split by the shaking barely 30 minutes earlier vanished under a vast inland sea. More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five regions and over 1million people were left without water. Terrified drivers desperate to find a way to escape stood no chance. Lorries and cars were sent cascading - piling up like discarded toys before then being sucked out to sea as the churning ocean retreated. Rescued ... people in a floating container taken from a building in Miyagi Prefecture, north- east Japan One of Japan's iconic bullet trains carrying hundreds of passengers was missing and contact was lost with three other trains. At least one had been swept off its tracks. A dam in Japan's north-east Fukushima province collapsed, unleashing a torrent that swept away 1,800 homes. Wave of death ... tsunami hits Iwanuma, north Japan The official death toll is put at more than 1,200. Japan has officially asked the UK to join the aid effort. Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development said: "Our thoughts are with the people of Japan as they begin to recover from this terrible disaster. SUN PROFESSOR BRIAN COX ON WHY QUAKE HAPPENED - CLICK HERE TO READ "The scale of widespread devastation is severe, leaving many people unaccounted for and vast areas of the country devastated. "The Japanese Government has appealed directly to us for help. We will immediately dispatch a team to help Japan search for survivors as quickly as possible." The sheer destruction was estimated to top £7billion. Tens of thousands were left homeless. Evacuation ... soldiers pull a boat across floodwater in Tagajo city, Miyagi Japan's MPs were poised to back an emergency budget after PM Naoto Kan begged them to "save the country". Air force jets and helicopters raced to the country's devastated eastern coast along with rescue troops. The earthquake - described by experts as a "megathrust" - was a monumental 8,000 times bigger than the one that wrecked Christchurch in New Zealand last month. It has been followed by 275 aftershocks - some of those massive in their own right. One registered a magnitude of 6.7. The main quake struck at 2.46pm local time, 5.46am in London. Its epicentre was six miles beneath the seabed 80 miles off Japan's east coast. The mammoth tremor sparked a tsunami alert around the entire Pacific rim as a 30ft wall of water raced across the vast ocean at 500mph - as fast as a jetliner. It was still 10ft high by the time it hit Hawaii - 3,900 miles away. Evacuation plans were put into action there - and also on the US west coast which was buffeted more than 5,000 miles away. Docks were ripped out of harbours in California, with reports of damage running into millions of dollars in Crescent City. One man taking photos in Del Norte County, northern California, went missing after he was swept out to sea. Two pals made it back to shore, while on the coast of Oregon at least four others survived after being swept off a beach. The tremor was the world's fifth biggest since records began in the 1800s. It eclipsed the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 in and around Tokyo. This time the capital escaped the worst - although it was violently rocked for at least two minutes. Office workers scrambled to hide under desks. Modern buildings in quake-prone Japan are designed to withstand tremors but Friday's was so ferocious it tested many to their limits - sparking panic. Falling debris injured countless people as they swarmed into Tokyo's streets. Please help us ... injured tended by rescuers in Tokyo With public transport all but paralysed hundreds of thousands found themselves stranded. Many were forced to spend a night outdoors after finding hotels full. But it was in and around the city of Sendai - 170 miles from Tokyo - that the real horror unfolded as the tsunami smashed into 1,300 miles of coastline. Japan has a sophisticated tsunami alert system - but there was simply no time to warn people. Some said the wall of water hit just 15 minutes after the quake. Heartbeaking TV footage showed people trying to outrun it - some in cars, others on foot. The surging sea turned into a maelstrom of wreckage and mud as it bore down on them. Boats were ripped from their moorings and sent hurtling down streets. They mingled with bobbing cars and whole uprooted houses - some floating in flames after ruptured gas pipes exploded. Around 100 people were on a vessel owned by a shipbuilder in Ishinomaki that was swept away. Blaze ... fire burns out of control at oil refinery near Tokyo Up to 300 corpses were recovered in Sendai alone. Charlie Wonk, who works at the city's university, said: "I saw more than 20 dead bodies in the street. Some were kids." Alone ... man stands on roof as he watches waters rage below Local resident Mark Avancena said: "I thought we were going to die. There was an unusual silence, like the world had stopped, and then the earthquake started. It felt like it went on forever." His mother Edith added: "The water entered the house with such force it broke all the windows. Rubble ... residents walk through debris of collapsed homes AP "We looked at each other and started saying our goodbyes." On the east coast of northern Honshu island, 3,000 homes were said to have been destroyed. Hours after the impact, huge orange balls of flame rolled up into the night sky around a petrochemical complex in Sendai. Another refinery erupted in Chiba City - and a massive blaze also engulfed one in Ichihara near Tokyo. Fire crews battled at least 80 huge fires - ten in the capital where four million homes were blacked out. Hospital staff were among those stranded on rooftops by the tsunami. They held up SOS banners with the words "Food" and "Help". US worker Jarrod Lentz, 27 - who had only been in Tokyo a week - admitted he was at first excited to experience his first quake. Destroyed ... houses sit under feet of water But he said: "It quickly escalated. It got to the point where I could no longer stand. "I could see the concrete outside my window rippling like water. The streets cracked open and it made a very loud, very violent sound. It was surreal." Much of Japan's industry ground to a halt. Among factories forced to shut were six owned by electronics giant Sony. The UN said 68 rescue teams from more than 45 countries were on standby. PM David Cameron said Britain was ready to do all it can to help. He described the quake as a "terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature". US President Barack Obama said he was "heartbroken" by images of the disaster. Damage ... tanks toppled over at brewery in Sendai as fire blazes in Tokyo building Reuters / WENN Amid the chaos, the Foreign Office said of fears Brits were among victims: "We can't say for sure." Both the Queen and Prince Charles sent messages to Japan's Emperor Akihito. Her Majesty said she was "saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life". Charles said he and Camilla were in "shock" - adding: "You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers at this most dreadful and challenging of times." Fukushima disaster IS as bad as Chernobyl Blaze ... stricken N-plant yesterday THE nuclear disaster in Japan was yesterday ranked as serious as the Chernobyl catastrophe. It was rated Level 7 in an official nuclear accidents system - the same as the 1986 Ukrainian calamity. But the release of radioactive material from the Fukushima power plant is still just ten per cent of that from Chernobyl. Fukushima began leaking radioactive elements after last month's earthquake and tsunami crippled reactors. The disaster was upgraded from Level 5 when data showed early radiation leakage was worse than first thought. UK nuclear engineer John Large called it "a very complex release into the marine environment and the atmosphere". Japanese PM Naoto Kan yesterday said the plant was "stabilising" and emissions were "declining". A minor fire broke out at the plant yesterday. Video: Desperate bid to outrun tsunami TERRIFYING new footage emerges of people fleeing giant waves in Japan Meanwhile shoppers in Tokyo queued to buy fruit and veg farmed near Fukushima to show support. It came as dramatic new film was released of people trying in vain to outrun the tsunami in the town of Minamisanriku. Video: Fukushima crisis raised to max JAPAN has raised the severity of the nuclear disaster to the same level as Chernobyl Japan - before and after images Satellite grabs ... pics show impact THESE amazing before and after satellite images reveal the dramatic scale of the devastation caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Google Earth shots from now and back in 2008 have been released to show the contrast on the country's east coast. Other pictures from Google Streetview confirm the extent of the disaster at ground level. Scroll from left to right on the images below to see the jaw-dropping differences. City fears of billions off shares THE City fears the value of Britain's biggest companies will plunge today as stock markets react to the horror in Japan. In early trading in Tokyo today, the Nikkei Index sank by 5.4 per cent. The fall came as the Bank of Japan injected £53billion into the short-term money market to build confidence. In London, experts said the FTSE 100 could slip more than 100 points, wiping billions of pounds off shares. David Buik, of BGC Partners, said: "We'll be down by one to two per cent." Economists fear the huge hit to Japan - the world's third biggest economy - could hammer hopes for the global recovery. The stricken nation is likely to have to borrow billions to rebuild. Toyota, Nissan and Sony have shut factories as the search for thousands of missing people continues. Meanwhile, UK gas prices are set to soar as Japan buys in liquefied natural gas to fill the hole left in its power supply by two crippled nuclear reactors. 4,000 in calls for lost Brits MORE than 4,000 worried Brits have inundated the Foreign Office with phone calls in a desperate bid for news of loved ones in Japan. Nobody from the United Kingdom is included in the official death toll, the Foreign Office said last night. But fears were rising for those who had still not been heard from days after the disaster. Around 17,000 UK nationals are known to have been in Japan at the time the catastrophic quake struck. Video: Dramatic amateur tsunami video VIDEO shows the massive tsunami engulfing part of northeastern Japan • News Among them were teachers Simon Green and Anna Francis who were in the worst-hit area. But there was good news today for the family of Brian Hickebottom, who received a message stating he is alive and well. Video: Man swept out to sea rescued MIRACULOUS escape of man swept nine miles out to sea by tsunami • News The 34-year-old's relatives had feared the worst when he failed to contact them for four days after the disaster. But today sister Emma, 28, received an email saying "We r safe". Emma, from Cardiff, spoke of her relief, adding: "The last four days have been a nightmare but my prayers have finally been answered." Brian, originally from Birmingham, lives with Japanese wife Sanae and their six-month-old daughter Erin just seven miles from the devastated city of Sendai and are believed to be sheltering in the school where Brian teaches English. His family believe survivors are taking it in turns to email their loved ones to let them know they are safe. Earlier a Foreign Office spokeswoman revealed: "Our emergency helpline has taken more than 4,000 calls." She added that specialist consular teams and extra staff were being sent to Japan to work with local authorities and determine if Brits were involved. Brit team hunts for survivors Aid ... member of UK International Rescue Team arrives in Japan A TEAM of British rescuers arrived in Japan yesterday to help search for earthquake survivors. The Sun joined the 59 firefighters, four doctors and two search-and-rescue dogs on a chartered plane from Manchester. It landed at a US base near Sendai, the tsunami-hit northern city with many thousands missing. The UK's International Search and Rescue Team boasts the world's best-trained firefighters. Some returned from New Zealand days ago after two weeks hunting there for quake victims. The mission is to search buildings for life with dogs and electronic kit before using cutting and lifting gear to save survivors. Kent firefighter Dave Hudson, 47, said: "We're itching to get started." Tokyo nuke cloud crisis Alive ... rescue team carries woman survivor through debris JAPAN is teetering on the brink of nuclear catastrophe amid fears a radioactive cloud could envelop Tokyo's 13million residents. The Foreign Office warned Brits to avoid the capital as it was feared a SECOND nuclear reactor was heading for meltdown after Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami. And there were heightened concerns early today following a hydrogen blast 170 miles north of Tokyo at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company said 11 workers were injured after the explosion. Seven people were also reported as missing. Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said the core container at the reactor was intact and the fresh explosion was unlikely to have led to a large escape of radioactivity. The explosion – inside No3 reactor – was similar to an earlier one at a different unit of the facility. Traumatised ... girl in blanket stands amid wreckage Mr Edano said people within a 12-mile radius were ordered inside following the blast, which was felt 30 miles away. International authorities had declared a state of emergency at the Onagawa nuclear plant after radioactivity levels in the area exceeded safe limits. The US announced that after the radiation was discovered in the air it moved its offshore forces away from the plant. The USS Ronald Reagan was 100 miles off the coast of Japan when it detected the radiation. Local officials later told the International Atomic Energy Agency that radioactivity at Onagawa was back to normal. Freak of nature ... large ferry perches on building The heightened readings were blamed on emissions from crippled Fukushima, where workers were desperately pumping sea water into the reactors in a bid to prevent a major meltdown. Nuclear locations ... facilities on Japan's east coast The ageing nuclear power station has six reactors. No1 reactor blew up on Saturday, and officials admitted it was "highly likely" a partial meltdown had already occurred. It is believed radioactive steam was released, with about 160 people exposed, but that most of the radioactive material was contained. It later emerged that the cooling system pump in No2 reactor had completely shut down, sparking fears a second explosion was imminent. Experts were frantically trying to cool No3 reactor to prevent deadly uranium fuel pellets melting. Authorities admitted for the first time that radiation around Fukushima is nearing the level where humans vomit uncontrollably, hair can be stripped from the body - and cancer rates soar. An explosion in No3 reactor would be far worse than the No1 blast, since it contains lethal plutonium as well as uranium. Mr Edano said further blasts could not be ruled out. But he insisted the other reactors would survive as No1 did, saying: "There would be no significant impact on human health." The explosion means Fukushima is already one of the worst nuclear accidents in history - but so far there has been no major radiation leak. Danger ... the risk posed to nuclear reactors by natural disaster A complete reactor meltdown could release uranium and other dangerous contaminants, causing major and widespread health problems. More than 170,000 residents were evacuated from a 13-mile exclusion zone. Medics in protective gear scanned evacuees for contamination and gave iodine to protect against radiation exposure. Terrifying ... blast at reactor The shutdown of nuclear plants has left Japan facing months of electricity shortages. PM Naoto Kan announced rolling power cuts from today, with hospitals, water and gas supplies all being affected. One of the world's leading nuclear experts urged the Government to learn from Japan as the UK prepares to build eight new nuclear plants. Dr John Large said: "You must engineer for the worst accident and build in counter-measures." Sad duty ... emergency team carries away one of the many victims He said the Fukushima crisis happened because the reactors automatically shut down in the quake and needed their generators to start up again. But the tsunami that followed knocked out the generators, and Dr Large said the problem should have been predicted. Hellish landscape ... fire engines in a flattened town The tsunami also knocked out a cooling pump at Tokai 2 nuclear plant near Tokyo, but extra pumps kicked in to prevent any danger, officials said. Bizarre sight ... car hurled on top of hut in Sendai Seismologist Ishibashi Katsuhiko warned in 2007 that Japan's nuclear plants were vulnerable to quakes. He accused ministers of underestimating the danger, saying: "Reactors had fatal flaws in their design." Japan disaster hits stock market Crashed ... Japanese stock market has plunged ten per cent MORE than £40billion was wiped from the value of Britain's biggest companies this morning as fears of devastating radioactive leaks in Japan were felt in the stock market. The FTSE 100 plunged by over 150 points with 99 of the country's biggest 100 stocks losing ground. Only high street chain NEXT was up. In Japan, stocks in Tokyo tumbled by more than TEN PER CENT, the biggest one-day fall since the 1987 crash. Over the past two days some £390BILLION has been wiped from Japan's Nikkei 225 Index. Across Europe share prices were at their lowest levels for 14 months. A trader in Hong Kong said: "It was a messy day. Lots of rumours flying around and as selling in Japan accelerated, that spilled over to other regions." Triple nuke meltdown Alert ... masked doc checks baby for radiation yesterday JAPAN'S nuclear catastrophe escalated last night as experts warned THREE reactors are now heading for meltdown. The terrifying revelation came as the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant was rocked by TWO more blasts yesterday - and radiation levels there soared four times higher. An explosion in No3 reactor at 2am was heard 25 miles away and sent plumes of smoke billowing into the air. It destroyed the reactor's outer building and injured 11 people. The next blast came at 9.10pm and damaged a suppression pool container in No2 reactor. Most of the plant's workers were evacuated with just 50 remaining. Blast ... plant catches fire then explodes yesterday Deputy Cabinet Secretary Noriyuki Shikata tweeted last night: "A suppression pool seems to be damaged. The radioactive level has gone up. We need to very closely watch what is happening." Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co claimed the latest blast had caused "no major change" to the reactor. But a spokesman said: "There was a huge explosion." Higher radiation levels were also recorded at Ibaraki last night, a town 150 miles away from the reactor. The new blasts followed Saturday's explosion in No1 reactor. Officials last night said fuel rods in all three damaged Fukushima reactors were "highly likely" to be melting after Friday's devastating quake and tsunami destroyed the cooling system. Peril ... mum talks to daughter in isolation chamber Engineers were desperately pumping sea water into the stricken units to prevent them overheating further. But the uranium rods were TWICE completely exposed - which increases the risk of a total meltdown in the ageing power station, 170 miles north of Tokyo. As fuel rods melt, they form an extremely hot molten pool at the bottom of the reactor that can melt through even the toughest of containment barriers. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: "Although we cannot directly check it, it's highly likely melting is happening." Enlarge Professor Robin Grimes, of Imperial College, London, said: "If the concrete shell that surrounds the reactors is damaged there will be a risk of harmful radiation exposure and widespread health problems." More than 185,000 people have now been evacuated from the area around the nuclear plant - with the exclusion zone extended to 12 miles. Some radiation has already leaked as a result of radioactive steam being released to try to relieve pressure. But a complete reactor meltdown could release uranium and other dangerous contaminants. Japan was last night reported to have asked for American help. The former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Olli Heinonen said the status of the faulty reactor may deteriorate even more and US expertise must be used. Mr Heinonen said: "I think the situation is still very, very grim - we are by far not over the worst." Before yesterday's blasts, officials from the power company running the plant said 22 people had suffered radiation contamination. But experts believe that figure may now be closer to 190. People evacuated from around the plant are being screened by medics in protective outfits for signs of contamination. Last night it was revealed 17 US helicopter crewmen have been treated for radiation after helping in the rescue effort. All US battleships in the region have been moved after they picked up low-level radiation readings 100 miles off-shore. Scared ... girl looks at pet through chamber window Earlier France's ASN nuclear safety authority rated the Fukushima catastrophe as a level six on their readings of one to seven, with Chernobyl at level seven. This followed the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale putting it at level four. One British expert last night warned that any radioactive cloud could be blown across huge areas of Japan as an easterly wind is forecast for the next few days. Dr Richard Wakeford, of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Manchester University, said: "If you get a major breach of containment that would lead to a major release of radioactivity - probably in a large plume. In this case you don't want a strong wind blowing towards the population centre." Earlier, TEPC said it had restored the cooling systems at two of the three reactors at the Fukushima Daini plant - seven miles from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi site. myView By Sun Professor BRIAN COX DAMAGE to nuclear reactors sounds very frightening - but the first thing to say is that they just cannot explode like nuclear bombs. It is actually very difficult to make nuclear fuel explode, which is why very few countries have been able to build bombs. Nuclear reactors generate heat by splitting uranium atoms, releasing neutrons which in turn split more atoms in a chain reaction. While there is no danger of an explosion, this chain reaction still has to be controlled to prevent the core from getting too hot. This is done by lowering rods of material that absorb neutrons into the core. When these control rods are fully inserted into the reactor, the uranium chain reaction stops. Within seconds of the earthquake, the control rods automatically descended into Japan's reactors and stopped the uranium chain reaction. All the reactors are now completely safe in this respect. But the reactor core continues to produce heat for some days or weeks after the chain reaction is stopped. This is due to other, very short-lived radioactive atoms that are produced in the core. It is this heat that is causing the current problems, because it must be taken away in order to stop damage to the reactor itself. All nuclear reactors have to be constantly cooled down for this reason. The problem for the Japanese reactors is that the tsunami flooded the backup generators that provided power to the cooling systems when the electricity supply was cut by the quake. If nothing is done, the core can begin to melt. This in itself is not so bad, because the core will then spread out and cool more rapidly. The real problem, which happened in Chernobyl, would be if some kind of explosion - remember, NOT a nuclear explosion - triggered by the heat build-up disperses the nuclear fuel into the environment. That sent radioactive material high into the atmosphere. To prevent this, Japanese engineers have been cooling the reactor cores by pumping seawater into them. The explosions that have rocked two of its reactors are due to this cooling water boiling off. This increased the pressure inside the reactor buildings much like a pressure cooker. This is why the engineers are venting steam into the atmosphere. The only real contamination risk is from small amounts of nuclear material being released into the air in this steam. It sounds scary, but the levels of radiation released in this way are very small - probably about the same as you would expect on a long-distance transatlantic flight. At the moment, it appears a Chernobyl-style release of the fuel itself will not happen in Japan. This is primarily because of the design of the reactors themselves and the procedures that were implemented by engineers immediately following the quake. Every indication is that the fuel has stayed exactly where it was designed to stay, inside the reactor. Nuclear reactor 'hit' Explosion ... second blast rocks power station yesterday JAPAN is this morning battling to stop a nuclear meltdown after a THIRD blast occured inside the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant - damaging a reactor container. The radiation reading around the plant is four times higher and most of the workers have been evacuated. Higher radiation levels were also recorded in Ibaraki - a town 150 miles from Fukushima. Authorities admit it is "highly likely" that fuel rods are melting in all three reactors at the plant after cooling systems were knocked out by Friday's huge earthquake and tsunami. Yesterday, 11 workers were injured and seven were missing following a hydrogen explosion in the No3 reactor. Officials had warned of a risk of a radioactive leak yesterday when fuel rods in the No2 reactor of the plant were briefly exposed. The cooling system which usually covers the nuclear rods had broken as a result of the earthquake. The plant's operators pumped seawater into the reactor — but the rods became exposed after the pump's fuel ran out. Worrying ... damaged reactor at Fukushima plant A cooling system breakdown had occurred just before the explosions at the plant's No3 and No1 reactors today and yesterday. The power company played down any health risk, saying thick containment walls shielding the reactor cores are still intact. But the US announced it was moving its forces away from Japan after low level radiation was detected by its ships 100 miles offshore. People within a 12-mile radius were ordered inside following the explosion in the No3 reactor, which was felt 30 miles away. Hydrogen blast ... how events unfolded Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano insisted the core container at the reactor was intact and the fresh blast was unlikely to have led to a large escape of radioactivity. It came as the country braced itself for a second quake nightmare — with a mega aftershock likely to hit at any moment. Japan's world-renowned centre for earthquake prediction said there was a seven-in-ten chance of a tremor with a magnitude of seven or more hitting "within the next three days". Director Takashi Yokota confirmed as a VOLCANO piled on the misery for wretched victims of Friday's catastrophe: "There is a 70 per cent possibility." Terror ... rubble strewn over town of Sendai by wave The heartbreaking warning raised the spectre of another tsunami like the one that was last night feared to have killed up to 20,000. The alert was issued as millions in the hi-tech superpower spent a fourth day without food, water or electricity. Meanwhile, British PM David Cameron pledged to send a second UK search and rescue team to Japan this afternoon to help with the rescue effort. He told MPs in the House of Commons there were "severe concerns" over a number of missing Brits. Destruction ... a giant tanker washed ashore near Sendai and train carriages near Fukushima Destroyed ... the interior of a nursery school in Natori He added he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the scenes in Japan. He said: "I'm sure the thoughts of everyone in this House, indeed everyone in our country, are with the Japanese people and we stand with you at this time. "As yet there are no confirmed British fatalities but we have severe concerns about a number of British nationals." He added that embassy officials were working around the clock to help Britons. Relief effort ... team removes a body found amongst the rubble Three rapid deployment teams have already been sent to the worst affected areas, with a further group of officials arriving in Japan today. He added: "They will help find out information for the families who are, rightly, very worried about their relatives potentially caught up in this tragedy." The president of Japan's Red Cross this morning compared the aftermath of the disaster to "Osaka and Tokyo after World War Two". Tadateru Konoe spoke as rescue workers searched the blazing rubble and debris in the town of Otsuchi for survivors. Shattered ... man offers comfort to woman as she sobs outside the remains of her home Search ... rescue workers look for victims in Noda village He said: "Everything is destroyed and flattened. This is a complete disaster. In my long career in the Red Cross, this is the worst I have ever seen." Police have so far confirmed that 1,597 people died in the quake — but that number is expected to soar. Rescue teams claim to have found 2,000 bodies in the devastated north-eastern Miyagi region alone. Meanwhile Friday's record quake was revealed to have been even stronger than thought. Devastation ... before and after pictures of the Sendai area of Japan It was upgraded from a magnitude 8.9 tremor to a 9.0. The seismic shift below the sea 80 miles off Japan's north east coast rocked the country and led to the gruesome tsunami four storeys high that flattened cities and towns. In the port of Minami Sanriku, which has been likened to the horrors of Hiroshima, around 10,000 are missing presumed dead. But even as the frantic hunt for survivors continued yesterday, nature threw yet MORE hell at the country. In a third natural disaster in as many days the 4,689ft Shinmoedake volcano in the south west's Kirishima mountain range began spewing ash and rock. Last night its grim cloud - 2½ miles high - was ominously spreading. Meanwhile there was no let-up in the hundreds of aftershocks that have continued to rock the country. And the cost of the disaster looked set to top £105billion - triggering panic selling of shares which led to a six per cent plunge in Japan's stock market. It is a huge blow for the world's third largest economy which has been ailing for two years. Recovery ... survivors use raft to get food and other items from dormitory - submerged by tsunami in Sendai Obliterated ... the remains of Otsuchi village The government said today it would pump £113bn into the economy to prop up markets. Major firms such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda shut down for most of the day due to difficulty in procuring assembly-line components. Prime Minister Naoto Kan yesterday declared: "This is Japan's most severe crisis since the war ended 65 years ago." Oil refineries and factories were still burning out of control. In the port city of Sendai, orange flames plumed for 100ft. Many survivors there had been forced to spend two nights sleeping huddled in underpasses. Last night - as temperatures plunged to freezing - most managed to find their way to emergency shelters set up in schools and community centres. But there was still no power to the city. Staff at the flood-wrecked general hospital worked feverishly to haul bedridden patients up the stairs one at a time. Hospital official Ikuro Matsumoto said despairingly: "There is still no water or power, and we've got some very sick people in here." Deluge ... town of Natori before and after the devastating tsunami Chaos ... rescue workers check for survivors in Higashimatsushima City Firefighters with wooden picks dug through a devastated neighbourhood in the hunt for survivors but found only bodies. In the nearby small town of Tagajo, dazed residents roamed streets cluttered with smashed cars, broken homes and twisted metal. A sobbing mum in port city Rikuzentakata told how she lost her grip on her daughter's hand as the tsunami engulfed their home up to the third floor. Etsuko Koyama wept: "I saved myself, but I couldn't save my daughter. I haven't given up hope yet." Around 380,000 people in the worst-hit areas were living in emergency shelters after at least 20,000 buildings were obliterated. Tens of thousands more remained cut off and trapped in what was left of their homes - starving and thirsty. More than 100,000 Japanese troops were battling to reach them with supplies. Defence minister Toshimi Kitazawa said: "There are so many people who are still isolated and waiting for assistance. This reality is very stark." Tragedy ... girl sits crying in the wrecked town of Miyagi British and US aid was arriving in Japan last night. Other countries involved in the relief effort included even war-torn Afghanistan. New Zealand - still reeling from the Christchurch earthquake last month - sent teams to help search for survivors. Barry Lowday, one of the rescuers, admitted: "I don't think what we have seen in Christchurch can remotely compare to Japan." Pope Benedict XVI yesterday urged Catholics to pray for the victims as he paid tribute to Japan's "courageous" people. Meanwhile Save the Children warned that up to 100,000 infants had been displaced in the disaster. Stephen McDonald, who is leading the charity's response, said: "We are extremely anxious that up to 100,000 children have been displaced because of last Friday's earthquake and tsunami. "Their homes may have been destroyed and many of them will be sheltering in crowded evacuation centres. We can only imagine how frightening the experience of the last few days will have been for them. "There is also a risk that some of them will have become separated from their parents and family members because of the disaster. It is important we provide support to parents and children who are struggling to cope in the aftermath of the disaster." Many schools have been turned into temporary shelters for those displaced by the crisis, with children having to sleep in crowded classrooms with many other people. Overturned ... fishing boat which was washed away by tsunami, sits in Hachinohe, Aomori, northern Japan Under water ... the ruined town of Minami Sanriku AP David Beckham was among celebrities who lent their support to the relief effort. The England soccer legend, 35 - an ambassador for UNICEF - said: "My heart goes out." Singer Lady GaGa revealed she was selling "We Pray For Japan" wristbands. Scientists yesterday revealed the mammoth quake shifted Japan's main island of Honshu by ten feet. The Earth's axis moved by 10cms. 50 Cent mocks Japan earthquake victims on Twitter RAPPER 50 Cent sparked outrage by mocking Japan's earthquake victims on Twitter. He wrote: "Look this is very serious people I had to evacuate all my hoe's from LA, Hawaii and Japan. Lol." The singer later wrote: "Some of my tweets are for shock value. Hate it or love it. I'm cool." Telly pundit Larry Kudlow appalled US viewers by saying they should be "grateful" that the human toll was worse than the economic toll. He later apologised saying he had "flubbed the line". Miracle of mud baby Alive ... soldier cradles baby girl found alive in shattered Ishinomaki A BABY girl miraculously plucked from the rubble and reunited with her family became a symbol of hope for devastated Japan yesterday. The tiny four-month-old was spotted by soldiers searching for survivors in the sea of mud that covers the city of Ishinomaki - four days after Friday's killer tsunami. She was oblivious to her hellish surroundings as a squaddie tenderly placed her in her father's arms. Moments later the dad had to flee to higher ground amid fears that aftershocks from the earthquake that sparked the horror would send another giant wave sweeping in from the sea. Luckily for Japan's suffering people, the threatened second flood did not come. Meanwhile The Sun went in with a team of British rescue workers who are picking through obliterated towns and cities in the fading hope that there are more people still alive. They were working in the very heart of the region where the 30ft tsunami tore nearly a mile inland, destroying everything in its path. Fear still grips this place and many local rescuers fled to safety after TWO warnings of possible fresh tsunamis. Once they called off the hunt for four hours following a false alert a 15ft wave was on its way. Relief ... father reunited with saved baby girl The Brits pressed on with their grim task, joined by two teams from America. But their boss warned: "If there IS a real, true rocker that keeps coming, don't wait for any warning - head for the hills." Tsunami alerts delayed tons of urgently-needed specialist equipment. A helicopter loaded with supplies was turned back just as it was about to leave the British HQ at a US air base in Japan. And our convoy of buses, flatbed trucks and SUVs carrying around 200 rescuers and equipment was also forced to wait for the all clear. The convoy finally set off, snaking through Japan's beautiful interior to the disaster zone. Scenes of utter devastation greeted us seven hours later when we arrived at the coastal town of Ofunato, one of the worst-hit places. We set up camp at the high school, which was on raised ground and had escaped the fury of the tsunami. Tragic toll ... bodies of three victims lie in bags in the ruined city of Natori At least 300 homes here were ripped from their foundations and simply swept away. A large number of the town's 42,000 population are missing. Heather Heath, the only woman on the British team, said: "We never know what we are going to find until we get there. We're just praying there is someone still alive." Panic buys ... store shelves emptied as fearful families stocked up Barcroft Media Heather, 38, a firefighter with Kent Fire Service, volunteered for the UK's International Search and Rescue Team 12 years ago. Her husband Andy, 42, also a firefighter, is back home looking after their dogs. She said: "I am just one of the team, bedding down in a makeshift campsite, sharing the banter that is an everyday part of a firefighter's life. They treat me the same as everyone else. "I volunteered for this to help people. Sometimes they have nothing. When we were driving here, I saw two women crying when they spotted us. They were so grateful and it really touched me." Need to talk ... queue for phones in Tokyo as mobile network struggled The work is greatly helped by two search dogs. Collies Bryn, seven, and Byron, six, are among only four dogs in the UK trained in earthquake work. Handler Robin Furniss, 55, of Hampshire Fire Service, said: "It takes 18 months to train a dog to this level and they must pass a test. "It's the first deployment for Bryn and Byron." The electronic gear includes seismic detection equipment, which senses movements. Listening devices are used to home in and then tiny video cameras with microphones on the end of a thin boom are threaded through the rubble. The Brits expect to be in the town until at least Friday. They all hold down jobs at home but are ready at a moment's notice to fly to any disaster spot in the world. Part of the team returned from New Zealand days ago after two weeks dealing with the aftermath of the Christchurch quake. Save the Children warned last night that up to 100,000 infants were displaced by Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Stephen McDonald, leading the charity's response, said: "Their homes may have been destroyed and many will be in crowded evacuation centres. We can only imagine how frightening the experience will have been for them. "There is also a risk that some will have become separated from their parents." The Japanese government has deployed 100,000 troops with 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water, tons of food and 29,000 gallons of petrol. Japan nuke leak 'a threat to life' Utter despair ... sobbing Japanese girl surrounded by tsunami aftermath in shattered city of Natori FEAR gripped Tokyo today after a huge explosion and fire at a nuclear power plant sent radiation spilling into the atmosphere. The French embassy in the capital warned that the nuclear cloud could reach the city within hours. It said a low level of radioactive wind could hit Tokyo — 150 miles south of the plant — today. Meanwhile the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant said another fire had broken out at reactor No4 - because the first one was not completely put out. Around 17,000 Brits live in Japan — and more than half of them are based in the city. Earlier officials declared the radiation from the plant IS now a threat to life. The government ordered the 140,000 people living within a 13-mile radius of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant to stay indoors. Radiation levels soared after the first fire at reactor No4 earlier today, caused by a suspected explosion. The containment vessel of another could also have been damaged in an explosion, the IAEA revealed. Reports said only slightly elevated radiation levels had so far been recorded in the capital and the increase was too small to threaten the 39 million people in and around the city. Meanwhile China was organising mass evacuations from the areas hardest hit by Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. While Austria said it is moving its embassy from Tokyo to Osaka and the US, Latvia and Finland advised their citizens not to travel to Japan. France has recommended citizens should leave the capital. Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Germany's Lufthansa have either cancelled flights to Tokyo or diverted planes to other cities. Worrying ... graphics show how wind could carry radiation to Tokyo and across the Pacific As fears grew some locals started to leave the capital and others stocked up on essential supplies. The French nuclear agency has ranked the nuclear crisis as the second most serious in HISTORY after Chernobyl — by giving it a ranking of six. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) ranks incidents from one to seven with one described as an "anomaly" and a seven as a "major incident". The 1986 Chernobyl disaster is the only incident to have been ranked at seven and an explosion at a plant in Kyshtym, Russia, in 1957 is the only previous incident to ever be ranked as a six. INES describes level number six as: "Significant release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of planned countermeasures." At least 450 Brits remain missing in Japan. Fears are also growing the radiation cloud could reach the US. Scientists warned yesterday of a "worst-case scenario" in which the highly radioactive material could be blasted into the atmosphere and blown towards the West Coast by the Pacific jet stream. Estimates say the radiation could arrive on America's shores by tonight. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre said: "Right now it's quite possible that there could be some radiation floating over the United States." Meanwhile Japan was today rocked by two serious aftershocks within the space of six minutes. Decontaminate ... dozens checked for radiation near Fukushima The first measured 6.2 in magnitude and the second 6.0. They each hit within 200 miles of Tokyo causing buildings to sway. Higher radiation levels were earlier recorded in Ibaraki — a town 80 miles from Tokyo and levels in the town of Saitama near the capital city were 40 times their normal level. Japan has so far monitored 150 people for radiation levels and has had to carry out decontamination measures on 23 people near the Fukushima plant. After the fire at reactor No4 the radiation readings at the site were reported to have risen beyond safe limits to a massive 400 millisieverts per hour (mSv/hr) - when the average person's exposure is just 3mSv in a year. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Mr Kan said: "The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out." Alive ... elderly victim lifted from ruins in Minami Sanriku yesterday He added: "We are making every effort to prevent the leak from spreading. I know that people are very worried but I would like to ask you to act calmly." He warned there are dangers of more leaks and told people living within 19 miles of the complex to stay indoors to avoid radiation sickness. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed more radiation had been released. He said: "Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health. These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening. Far away, the levels should be lower." Fears of a serious radiation leak had heightened after the Japanese government revealed a container for one reactor appeared to be damaged after a THIRD explosion at the crippled power station last night. The radiation reading around the plant was last night four times higher and non essential workers at the plant were evacuated. Authorities admitted it was "highly likely" that fuel rods were melting in several of the reactors at the plant after cooling systems were knocked out by Friday's huge earthquake and tsunami. And as concern about the crippling economic impact of the disaster mounted, Japanese stocks plunged 13 per cent - heading for their biggest drop since 1987 - compounding a slide of 7.6 per cent the day before. The two-day fall has wiped $720billion off the market. Around 450 Brits are missing following the tsunami, with ten feared dead. The Foreign Office said there was serious concern for about 50 UK nationals. Some Brits caught in the horror were finally able to make contact with loved ones back home yesterday. One man feared dead walked and drove for ten hours to get a mobile phone signal. Consular staff in Japan are liaising with the Foreign Office and British cops to find those missing. Sheer hell ... rescuers hunt for tsunami survivors yesterday in Iwate A Foreign Office source said: "It's highly likely that between eight and 12 Brits are dead. They are in the affected areas and can't be found. There are serious concerns for about 50 others but they still may be found." Frantic families were revealed to have bombarded a hotline set up by the Government here for information about 17,000 UK nationals who were in Japan when the four-storey wall of water hit on Friday. Missing ... David Johnson Last night it emerged nothing has been heard from hundreds who were close to the danger zone. Relatives were last night praying they are among the tens of thousands of Japanese still cut off from rescuers four days on. One of those missing is David Johnson, 41, from Derby, who was setting up a language school for children in the Fukushima district. His sister Shirley, 56, said: "We haven't heard from him since the tsunami and we're not sure exactly where he was based and whether he managed to get to safety. "We've been in touch with the Foreign Office, who have kept us updated. But it's just a waiting game, hoping the phone will ring. We hope he is fine and he just hasn't been able to get in touch." PM David Cameron yesterday admitted there were "severe concerns" for a number of Brits. It was seen by Westminster insiders as a thinly-veiled code to brace the nation for grim news. Consular staff in Japan have been liaising with the Foreign Office in London - as British police draw up a missing list. The UK's ambassador briefed the PM by phone over "round the clock" attempts to trace the Brits - as it emerged the Government's Cobra emergency committee has already met five times over the disaster. The missing list is divided into four "risk" categories based on how close Brits were to the tsunami that killed around 20,000 following Japan's biggest earthquake. Explosion ... second blast rocks Fukushima power station Around 400 have been put in the safer categories and are more likely to have cheated death. If they are among those still cut off they are almost certain to be starving and thirsty. But with communications chaotic, no electricity and mobile phone networks out it is hoped many are in emergency centres. The family of Brummie Brian Hickebottom told yesterday how they spent four days fearing the English teacher was dead - and even got a hoax email that he was. Destruction ... a giant tanker washed ashore near Sendai and train carriages near Fukushima Yesterday they were ecstatic after learning Brian, 34, his Japanese wife Sanae and their six- month-old daughter were safe. His sister Emma, 28, said of the email: "It was just from some sick person." Elated Ruth Bailey told how it was an agonising three days before she learned her teacher son Robert was alive. She got a phone call in the middle of the night from the firm that employed him. Terror ... rubble strewn over town of Sendai by wave Relieved Ruth said: "Robert and his wife Mai are both fine. Our whole family were worried for so long." A text message informed the family of English teacher Richard Halberstadt, 46, that he was alive - albeit stranded on the fifth floor of a university building with no water, food or electricity. Last night his brother David, from Lyme Regis, Dorset, said: "It's a disaster zone there. We're just pleased he's alive but they are totally cut off." Relief effort ... team removes a body found amongst the rubble Yesterday the PM told a hushed House of Commons the devastation was of "truly colossal proportions". The tsunami that hit Japan's north-east coast pulverised huge areas for miles inland, leaving more than 550,000 homeless. Yesterday around 2,000 bodies were found washed up on a beach in the province of Miyagi, where the police chief estimated 10,000 died. Devastation ... before and after pictures of the Sendai area of Japan A thousand others were found dead on the Ojika peninsula - and yet another thousand in the town of Minami Sanriku. In Soma, the local crematorium was unable to cope. Even supplies of bodybags were running out. Another province said there was a shortage of coffins - as the Japanese government tried to speed up funerals by scrapping red tape surrounding cremations. Chaos ... rescue workers check for survivors in Higashimatsushima City Officials in Iwate said they had received only a tenth of the relief supplies desperately needed by survivors who faced yet another night of freezing temperatures with no power - and forecasts of snow. Some are battling pneumonia. Patrick Fuller, of the International Federation of Red Cross, said: "The elderly have been hit the hardest. Many lie shivering under blankets. They are suffering from hypothermia." Yesterday a 6.2-magnitude aftershock hit - sparking a fresh tsunami scare. Sirens wailed as troops abandoned their search for victims and screamed at survivors: "Get out of here." But it proved to be a false alarm. Shortage of power drives up gas price GAS hit its highest price since late 2008 yesterday - as experts warned the tsunami could cost Japan £115BILLION. UK wholesale costs rose four per cent on power shortages in Japan, where ten nuclear plants are out of action. Experts said UK domestic bills could rise. The blow came as the FTSE 100 plunged 53.43 to 5775.24, wiping £14billion off stocks' value. In Japan, shares fell six per cent early today to their lowest level in two years. This followed a similar fall yesterday. Stocks in Europe were also down, with luxury goods firms reliant on the Japanese market hit. Meanwhile Germany shelved plans to extend the lives of some nuclear plants. And UK Honda and Nissan bosses held meetings amid fears factory supplies would be hit. Experts warned of a possible global economic dip. Market analyst Andre Bakhos said: "If you shut down Japan, there could be a world recession." But Standard Chartered economist Gerard Lyons insisted the chaos in the Middle East was more of a risk due to potential oil price hikes. He said: "The knock-on effect here from Japan could be limited." Last night it emerged insurance on Japan's nuclear plants excludes tsunami and quake cover. Dancers open Japan Disneyland Dancing girls ... dancers in costumes perform at Disneyland opening SNOW White and Donald Duck danced for tourists as Disneyland Tokyo opened its gates for the first time since an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan. Little Japanese children sprinted into the popular park shouting "Mickey, Mickey" as the nation made steps to return to normality. Fanfare ... characters perform for children Officials closed Disneyland on March 11 after the devastating natural disaster wrecked the country, killing tens of thousands and plunging it into a nuclear crisis. Yasuhiro Sato, with her three-year-old daughter Yume, said: "It was pretty lonely without the park. "Certainly we still have earthquakes and the nuclear crisis, both of which mean we can't relax yet. But here we can forget about them for a while." Meanwhile the operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant revealed it would pay out the equivalent of £7,300 to households that were forced to evacuate due to radiation. Tens of thousands of residents are unable to return to their homes near the nuclear plant. Some have travelled hundreds of miles to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) headquarters in Tokyo to press their demands for compensation. TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu told a news conference: "We have decided to pay provisional compensation to provide the slightest help for the people." Roughly 48,000 households living within about 19 miles of the crippled nuclear plant would be eligible for the payments - which total more than £350million. Quake hits shares worldwide Devastated ... tsunami crushes Japanese economy MORE than £20BILLION was wiped from the value of Britain's biggest companies yesterday as the Japanese crisis slammed the City. The FTSE 100 in London plunged 80 points to 5695 – or 1.4 per cent – as stock markets took a hammering around the world. It came as Toyota became the first Japanese company to CUT UK work as a result of the crisis. The car giants are suspending overtime at their two plants in Burnaston, Derby, and Deeside. Bosses are also scrapping plans for extra Saturday shifts later this month. Cut ... overtime is suspended at Toyota's plant in Burnaston near Derby A spokesman said: "These are precautionary measures until we find out about the effect of supplies coming from Japan." Honda are still reviewing the situation amid fears key supplies could dry up in three to four weeks. Crippled The crisis sent share prices in Japan crashing by ten per cent amid fears over radioactive leaks from the country's crippled nuclear plants. Hammered ... markets slump due to the disaster In the past two days nearly £380BILLION has been wiped off Japan's Nikkei Index – the biggest fall since 1987. In Australia shares dropped 2.1 per cent and in Taiwan 3.4 per cent, while in Germany – a huge exporter to Japan – stocks tumbled 3.2 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street fell 1.8 per cent by the close in London. Joshua Raymond, a strategist at London brokers City Index, said: "The markets are enduring some of the worst sessions seen for some time. Crash ... Japanese stocks plunge "To see the Nikkei lose as much as 14 per cent this morning at one point sent a shiver down the spines." Japan's economy is already close to returning to recession and experts fear the £115billion bill from the crisis will cripple the government. National debt is almost 200 PER CENT of the country's entire economic output. Experts warn countries around the world will be hit as Japan's private investors bring money home to help with the rebuilding effort. The Bank of Japan poured another £60billion into the nation's money markets yesterday. One ray of light for the UK came as oil prices FELL. Brent crude tumbled almost three dollars a barrel on the prospect of lower demand from Japan – the world's third largest economy. Cameron: My fear DAVID Cameron spoke last night of his fears there are UK casualties among the death toll. The Prime Minister said: "As yet there are no confirmed British fatalities, but we have severe concerns about a number of British nationals." Around 17,000 UK nationals were in Japan at the time and yesterday The Sun revealed how at least ten were feared dead. Ambassador David Warren said: "Given the scale of the disaster here, we must be prepared to hear news of them." Labour MP Russell Brown told the Commons the son of one of his constituents was "stuck" in Sendai with his wife and baby daughter. He said: "They are in a hotel where a bus turned up this morning and took away a number of European nationals who were fit and healthy. "Our Foreign Office are not assisting with transport - can something more be done?" Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said: "We are trying to do everything possible." Warnings 'ignored' JAPAN was warned its nuclear power stations needed further protection against earthquakes more than TWO YEARS ago, it emerged last night. The government vowed to upgrade plants after the international nuclear watchdog said they were not capable of withstanding big tremors - but never did. Secret cables obtained by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks show an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency believed the stations could pose a "serious problem" in a major natural disaster. The worried official also noted in December 2008 that safety guides for the plants in case of quakes had been revised just three times in the past 35 YEARS. He added that recent quakes had been stronger than plants were designed to cope with, calling the issue a "serious problem". Japan disaster: Today's events WE take a look at today's developments in Japan as they unfold. 1.52am: Japan's nuclear safety agency says smoke is rising from a building housing reactor No2. 1.14am: The top officer overseeing US military assistance to Japan says he is cautiously optimistic that Japan will avert a worst-case nuclear disaster by preventing a full meltdown of its crippled reactors. 1.11am: G7 countries agree on a coordinated effort to weaken the Japanese yen, which has surged to record levels following the earthquake and tsunami. A super-strong yen could cripple Japanese exports and further worsen the economic impact of the disaster. 9.26pm: The US is screening passengers and cargo entering the country from Japan for radiation. There have been reports of radiation being detected from cargo arriving at Chicago, Dallas and Seattle airports. 7.48pm: The nuclear situation is "very serious" but does not appear to be deteriorating, a senior official of the UN atomic agency says. 7.36pm: US officials say it could take weeks, not days, to bring Fukushima under control. They also declare there is no danger from leaking radiation to the western United States or its Pacific territories. 7.15pm: Emergency workers continue battle to regain control of reactors with police water cannons, heavy-duty firetrucks and military helicopters dropping enormous buckets of water onto the stricken nuclear power station. 6.12pm: US President Barack Obama has visited the Japanese embassy in Washington to sign a condolence book for victims of the earthquake and tsunami. 4.40pm: UK International Search and Rescue has called off its mission in Japan after finding no survivors in the ruins. 4pm: The International Atomic Energy Agency says the situation at Fukushima remains very serious but no significant worsening since Wednesday. 3pm: Actress Sandra Bullock has donated £620,000 to the Red Cross to help with earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan, the organisation said. 12.51pm: Foreign Secretary William Hague told MPs: "The devastation suffered in this crisis is truly appalling and we're doing all we can to support the Japanese people at this traumatic time. "We do have severe concerns over a number of British nationals that we have so far been unable to locate. "Our consular teams in London and Japan have been working round the clock to locate and assist British nationals." 11.30am: Tokyo Electric Power Company and its affiliates say they will stop building a nuclear power plant and related facilities in Oma, Aomori prefecture. Construction began in January at the plant on Japan's northeastern Pacific coast with plans for completion in 2017. 7.52am: Brits affected by the Japanese disaster will be flown home to the UK free of charge on charter planes from Tokyo, the Government announced today. 1.50am: Japanese military helicopters dump seawater on the stricken reactors. Plant operators say they are close to finishing the new power line that could restore cooling systems and ease the crisis. 12.57am: Australia, Britain and Germany advise their citizens in Japan to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas. Wednesday, March 16 7.48pm: The chief of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory Jaczko says all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools. This means there is nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. 7.17pm: Tokyo Electric Power Co says a nearly completed new power line could restore electric cooling systems at Fukushima - but cannot confirm when this will be possible. 5.20pm: The US military is to fly an unmanned plane over Fukushima, equipped with infrared sensors, to provide an aerial picture of what is going on at the nuclear plant. 4.51pm: Japanese defence minister Toshimi Kitazawa said special defence forces helicopters planned to drop water on one of the units at the nuclear plant. 4.30pm: The EU is urging member states to check food imports from Japan for radiation. 3.31pm: Experts at The Royal Society of Chemistry in Cambridge have warned Brits against panic buying potassium iodide anti-radiation tablets. The caution comes after UK pharmacists said members of the public have asked for the tablets, either to stockpile at home or to send to loved-ones in Japan. 3.17pm: Water cannon vehicle arrives at Fukushima nuclear plant to cool No. 4 reactor, according to Japanese news. 2.52pm: The British Government's search and rescue team has completed its search of Ofunato, north-east Japan, having found no survivors. The team has now moved further north to Kamaishi where 1,000 people are reported missing. 2.50pm: The mayor of Ishinomaki said the number of people missing from that one town alone is likely to reach 10,000. 1.10pm: David Cameron said lessons should be learned in the UK following explosions at a Japanese nuclear plant but insisted atomic power was necessary for Britain's energy needs. The Prime Minister said there were "big differences" between reactors in the UK and Japan, but has ordered a safety review. 12.14pm: Japanese police have been asked to send watercannon trucks to hose down the nuclear plant, according to local Japanese broadcaster NHK. 9.29am: Twelve British volunteers from International Rescue Corps say they have been prevented from travelling to the disaster zone in Japan after being refused necessary documentation in Tokyo. 8.05am: Tokyo Electric Power says the highest radiation levels yet have been recorded at reactor No3 at the Fukushima plant as smoke is seen coming from the plant. Protect ... Children wearing facemasks 8.00am: Japanese Emperor Akihito made a rare televised address to Japan saying he was "deeply worried" about the crisis his country is facing. 7.50am: Japanese military helicopter spotted on a high-risk mission to douse flames at reactor No4 at the Fukushima nuclear plant after high levels of radiation forced rescue workers to pull out. 2.35am: Battle to prevent nuclear meltdown is suspended after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said work on dousing reactors with water was disrupted by the need to withdraw. 12.55am: Japan's central bank injects further £27billion into money markets to ease impact of quake. 12.05am: Japan's nuclear safety agency says 70 per cent of the nuclear fuel rods in reactor No1 may have been damaged following explosions since Friday. Tuesday, March 15 10.48pm: Operator says the new fire erupted because the first one was not extinguished. 10.06pm: The operator of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant confirms a fire has broken out again at reactor No4 - following a blaze earlier today. The blaze erupted in the outer housing of the reactor's containment vessel. Fire fighters are trying to put out the flames. 9.51pm: Japan's government says flames are rising from a reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. 8.13pm: China becomes the first government to organise a mass evacuation of its citizens from Japan's northeast. Austria says it is moving its embassy from Tokyo to Osaka, 250 miles away, due to radiation concerns. 6.30pm: The Foreign Office says it will provide a higher level of support than the standard consular assistance package for those directly affected by the disaster. This will include those without travel insurance, help with transport out of the danger zone, financial support for people who need food, accommodation and clothing, and telephone calls home. 4.19pm: The UK Foreign Office says it has taken more than 5,480 calls on its emergency helpline on Japan. 3.34pm: Japan is continuing to feel aftershocks, according to Dr David Rothery, of the Open University's department of earth sciences, including one today that reached 6.0 on the Richter scale. But he said the aftershocks are not strong enough to prompt another Tsunami. 2.39pm: An 18 mile no-fly zone has been imposed around the Fukushima nuclear plant. 2.22pm: China is sending buses to rescue its nationals from north east Japan "due to the seriousness of and uncertainty surrounding the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant at present". Warning ... Japanese Prime Minister Kan warns people near nuclear plant to stay indoors 1.28pm: Japan's largest utility company, Tokyo Electric Power, says it may impose a rolling blackout in an upcoming three-day weekend and expects power demand to outstrip supplies on Wednesday. 12.28pm: France's nuclear safety authority says it classifies the Fukushima plant accident as level six. The maximum is level seven, which has only been used only once for the 1986 Chernobyl accident. 11.48am: The US military says it has moved its warships closer to the Japanese coast to aid relief and rescue efforts. 10.55am: Nuclear power experts warned it could be months before the nuclear complex is fully under control. Despite a third explosion rocking the plant early this morning, it is hoped the amount of radiation released can be kept to a minimum. 8.28am: Tokyo's leading share index slumped 11% and London's FTSE 100 Index fell by around 1.5% in the face of Japan's worsening nuclear crisis. Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled by as much as 14% before closing down 10.6% - a drop of more than 1,000 points - to close at 8,605. The benchmark index is now at an 18-month low after falling in excess of 6% yesterday. 7.49am: The UK Government's chief scientific adviser, Professor John Beddington said Japan's nuclear emergency should not involve a serious threat to Tokyo. After consulting with a group of experts to consider the worst-case scenario, Prof Beddington believes the Fukushima situation is "totally different" from the Chernobyl disaster. He added that the 12-18 mile exclusion zone imposed by the Japanese government was "entirely appropriate and proportionate to the risk." 7.41am: Rock star Bryan Adams tweets: "Calling all the great musicians and singers in the world, we should do a concert for Japan." Concert ... Bryan Adams calls for charity gig 6.10am: British specialist teams arrives at a base near Ofunato, north east Japan, where they will search for survivors. The team is made up of 63 UK fire service search and rescue specialists, two rescue dogs and a medical support team, who will work with American counterparts and local teams. 6am: Officials warn radiation leaks from damaged nuclear power plant Fukushima Dai-ichi now pose a risk to human health. The news comes following a third explosion rocked the plant earlier this morning, believed to be in the number two reactor. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has urged anyone within 19 miles of the complex to stay indoors. The official death toll tops 2,400, while tens of thousands of people are still missing, following the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami on Friday. A fire has broken out in a fourth reactor, releasing more radiation. Cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said: "Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health. "These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening." Explosion ... Nuclear power plant Fukushima 4am: Piers Morgan tweets: "Stunned by extraordinary stoicism of Japanese people in face of such a catastrophic onslaught of disasters. Quite extraordinary." 3.30am: A fire which broke out at Fukushima on Tuesday has now been extinguished, according to reports. 2.41am: Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirms earlier reports that a fire has broken out at the Fukushima nuclear plant in reactor 4. GET OUT OF TOKYO NOW BRITS were told to get out of Tokyo tonight after the Foreign Office elevated its warnings to those still in Japan as its post-tsunami nuclear crisis deepened. Thousands were fleeing the city today in a panic over radiation leaks - as the bitter cold snap heaped further misery on survivors in the disaster-hit north-east of the country. Banker Matt Saunderson, 33 - among Brits determined to get families clear - said: "I'm sending my wife and children home. "It doesn't matter what the Japanese authorities are saying - when it comes to nuclear fallout, or the risk of it, I'm not taking chances with my kids." Britain was the latest power to take serious action - after France told citizens to get out and China started organising mass evacuations. Workers battling to avert a disaster at the battered Fukushima nuclear facility were ordered out of the area today amid rising radiation levels as one foreign government said the disaster seemed to be spiralling out of control. The catastrophe worsened as touching pictures emerged of the moment a woman reached out tenderly to her mother having found her body in the wreckage of her home. Panic ... drivers stuck in jams in Fukushima and Tokyo Yoshie Murakami took one last opportunity to hold her mother's hands as they poked out from the rubble, the grief erupting across her face. Tragic Yoshie could still face even greater anguish - her 23-year-old daughter has been missing in the town of Rikuzentakata since the mega-quake struck last Friday. Hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling to survive in the aftermath of Japan's worst recorded earthquake as Arctic blizzards sweep the country. The capital's airport was besieged as levels of invisible radiation leaking from a ruined nuclear power station soared to ten times the normal level. A humanitarian crisis of epic proportions began to unfold further north as hundreds of thousands left homeless by last week's four-storey high tidal wave were hit by snow and temperatures plunging to -5C. The horrific conditions will hamper the search for survivors — five days after Japan's worst natural disaster in living memory left a confirmed 4,340 dead. And it will heap further pain on the 500,000 sheltering in makeshift camps already facing shortages of food, water and fuel. Today the mayor of Ishinomaki said that 10,000 people are missing from his city alone. Many more still remain unaccounted for. France issued a stark warning that the nuclear crisis seemed to be spiralling out of control. French Industry Minister Eric Besson said: "Let's not beat about the bush. They have visibly lost the essential control of the situation. "That is our analysis, in any case, it's not what they are saying." The warning came as a FOURTH explosion and a fire at the tsunami-hit Fukushima plant sparked fresh fears of a poison cloud of nuclear rain. The US is set to fly a spy plane over the stricken site to get a closer look at the damage, according to Japanese news reports. Military chiefs will send an unmanned Global Hawk high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft to examine the reactors, Kyodo agency said, quoting a government source. Freezing ... residents in tsunami-hit Sendai struggle through snow Pictures of reactors No3 and No4 emerged for the first time this morning — with smoke and steam seen spewing from the gutted buildings. The leaking reactor No4 was officially abandoned this morning after radiation levels around the plant "increased rapidly". Gutted ...reactor No3, left, and reactor No4, right, spewing steam and smoke And Tokyo Electric Power says the highest radiation levels yet have been recorded at reactor No3 at Fukushima. The 50 "essential" workers who had remained on site to pump cooling water into the overheating reactors were evacuated but were preparing to return tonight after readings dropped to safer levels. Japan has now raised the maximum radiation dose allowed for nuclear workers, citing the urgent need to prevent a crisis at a tsunami-stricken power plant from worsening. Despite the increase, surging radiation levels forced emergency workers to temporarily withdraw from the crippled Fukushima plant losing time in their struggle to cool overheating fuel in reactors crippled by last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. The Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare raised the maximum allowable exposure for nuclear workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts. It said the move was "unavoidable due to the circumstances." Military helicopters were spotted scooping water out of the ocean to keep reactors at the stricken power plants under control — but the mission was scrapped because of high radiation above the plant. Japan's Emperor Akihito delivered a rare live TV address to his jittery nation today. Crisis ... snow is heaping misery on already devastated districts of north east Japan Emperor Akihito said he was "deeply worried" about the nuclear crisis and continued: "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times." Cabinet Secretary Yukido Edano said the radiation level had appeared to be going down last night, before making an unexpected surge at 10am (1am GMT). Turned back ... helicopter could not pour water over nuclear plant because of high radiation levels He revealed experts were puzzled by plumes of white smoke seen pouring from the stricken facility in the early hours. Mr Edano said: "We are looking for the cause of the white smoke, and are studying whether it is related to fluctuating radiation readings by the front gate. In the wind ... nuclear plant and its radioactive plume Fleeing ... passengers wait for flights at airport in Tokyo Photoshot "On the whole it poses no health hazard. At one time last night we had a reading of 1,000 microsieverts, but this morning it reduced to 600. "But near the front gate at 10am, it started to increase rapidly and is now being measured in millisieverts - which is not desirable." Japan may now seek direct US military help to end the crisis at the plant, the chief government spokesman said. Meanwhile, weathermen predicted a looming change in the wind could send a deadly plume over Tokyo. Nuclear analyst John Large said of the threat from the skies: "Particles will be encased in water droplets, making the ground radioactive." Escape ... thousands board Japanese Bullet train out of Tokyo Drivers queued at petrol stations for up to ten hours to fill their tanks and flee - ignoring official reassurances that contamination was still low and they were not in danger. It came as the Foreign Office's official travel advice developed to stress that due to the evolving nuclear disaster and potential disruptions to infrastructure "British nationals currently in Tokyo and to the north of Tokyo should consider leaving the area". Japan's PM Naoto Kan was said to have stormed at power company executives yesterday after the latest meltdown horror: "What the hell's going on?" Chaos ... people queue to board flights at Tokyo airport Photoshot. He was furious at having to wait an hour to be briefed about the unfolding catastrophe at the Fukushima plant 170 miles away - while the blast was screened live on the news. The grim-faced PM later went on national TV to admit: "The possibility of further radioactive leakage is heightening. Radiation rise ... monitor in Tokyo yesterday "We are making every effort to prevent the leak from spreading. I know that people are very worried but I would like to ask you to act calmly." His words did little to ease the terror of many among the 39million living in and around Tokyo. Others closer to the Fukushima plant were furious. Exposure ... how increasing doses of radiation affect victims Fumiko Watanabe, 70 - among 70,000 evacuated from a 12-mile radius - raged: "They told us over and over again that it was safe, safe, safe, safe. I can't believe them now. Not at all." The plant is just one of several that engineers are battling to control after Japan was rocked by its biggest earthquake on Friday. Relief ... children embrace as they gather to confirm their safety at school in Miyako The 9.0-magnitude undersea quake caused a tsunami that smashed across the north-east coast. Around 450 Brits are missing - with ten feared dead. Tokyo's rising radiation saw a scramble by families to flee either overseas or to cities in the west such as Osaka. Playing safe ... scared girl uses breathing mask Nuke experts insisted the level was not a risk to human health. But toxicologist Lee Tin-lap warned: "You are still breathing this into your lungs, and there is passive absorption in the skin, eyes and mouth. We really do not know what long-term impact that would have." Near the latest out-of-control reactor, which is different to ones at the power station that have previously exploded, the radiation reading was 400 millisieverts per hour. The safe limit is 100 millisieverts in a YEAR. More than 140,000 people within a danger zone of 18 miles around the plant were yesterday warned to seal themselves up indoors. Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano starkly reminded them of the cancer risk as he begged: "Please close windows and make your homes airtight. "These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that." While the wind was blowing much of the radiation out to sea, that was predicted to change. Teachers and business executives joined the stampede among the 12,000 Brits in Tokyo to leave. Doomscape ... one of the obliterated towns in tsunami-hit Japanese province of Iwate Those frantic to jet home found flights to London booked solid for the next two weeks. Banker Matt, from Guildford in Surrey, said: "The city feels eerie and scared." Fellow Brit David Williams said after sending his own family out of the city: "If the wind does change as predicted it will be blowing towards Tokyo. "Like Japanese people, I don't believe what we are being told. I'm worried information is being kept from the public. I have a bag packed by the door and I have a motorbike to avoid the crowds." You're alive! ... tearful Manami Kimura finds her mum in a shelter Ten-year-old Lucy Niver said as she jetted home to the US: "I'm scared." America has advised citizens to avoid travel to Japan. US Navy reinforcements sent to help the tsunami rescue effort were arriving to the west - after ships based off the east coast recorded increased radiation. All gone ... Ken Shioy lost home and business Yesterday China began evacuating all 22,155 of its citizens from Japan's north-east - most of them factory workers. Austria was moving its Tokyo embassy 250 miles to Osaka. France recommended citizens leave the Japanese capital, which yesterday saw an orgy of panic-buying by residents who fear they may be ordered to hole up indoors. The multi-storey Don Quixote store in Roppongi district sold out of radios, torches, candles and sleeping bags. Confusion about how to combat the reactor meltdowns appeared to reign - with claims Japan's PM was angrily forced to order the Tokyo Electric Power Company not to pull crews out. Two of its workers were yesterday revealed to have died at the plant. Military helicopters may be used to pour water on No4 reactor - which was last night on fire. The US may be asked to help. Still hoping ... a British firefighter in Ofunato Apocalypse Japan: The aftermath THE apocalyptic devastation stretches as far as the eye can see in the Japanese port of Ofunato. Its miles of streets have been smashed to smithereens as ships weighing thousands of tonnes were flung up to half a mile inland. Cars and lorries lie upended like discarded toys. Standing amid the ravaged landscape it is astonishing that anyone could have survived the tsunami. But the British rescue team sent to the town yesterday spent a second day searching for signs of life - spurred on by the knowledge that miracles are happening. Like in the town of Otuschi, where a bewildered woman of 70 was yesterday dragged from the wreckage of her home four days after the tsunami swept it away. Or in Ishinomaki where a man in his 20s was saved after rescuers heard his faint cries for help. The Sun joined the 63 British firefighters and medics and two search dogs as they painstakingly checked miles of wreckage in Ofunato yesterday. Around them locals were still in a state of shocked disbelief over the catastrophe that has befallen them. Ken Shioy, 32, stared blankly at the remains of his house - a few small pieces of jagged wood. By some strange quirk his 24-year-old brother Kyoichi's house had been torn from its foundations but remained intact. It sat upon a 20ft pile of rubble 100 yards away. Ken, who owns four fish restaurants which have all been destroyed, said: "My house has gone. I don't know where it is. "And my brother's house has moved three places down the street. It is there sat on other rubbish. My four fish restaurants have gone also. "When the water came I just ran away. My wife was not in the house so everyone in my family is okay. But I am very sad when I see this now." Mum Rosemary Sasaki, 30, told of how she watched in horror as the tsunami swept into the bay. Reunited ... evacuee is greeted by her daughter and brother in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Rosemary, who has a son aged four, said: "I saw the water coming from my house. "Luckily that is higher than where the water came to but I was still very scared and I just ran. "I was crying, tears were running down my face. I saw the sea coming in in waves. "They did not stop, wave after wave just kept coming. I did not stop to see if anyone was in the water, I just turned and ran away. "I was so scared that there would be another tsunami that I did not sleep for three nights. Battling on ... survivors carry goods from their homes in Ofunato, Iwate "I want to call my family to let them know that I am okay but all I have is my cell phone and there is no signal." The British team found no survivors yesterday - only a body in the wreckage of an office building. The man, wearing a grey tracksuit, had clearly been swept along with the million of tonnes of debris. There were reports that another 150 bodies had been found further upstream. Many of them worked and lived in the port, suggesting the tsunami's 30ft waves had picked them up and carried them miles inland. The team did have a couple of false alarms. Two locals told of a woman trapped in an apartment block crushed by a blue container hurled inland from the port. But after two extensive searches the team found nothing. Dean Langley, of Kent Fire Service, said: "This lady caught our attention and told us in broken English and sign language her friend was still in this apartment. "She was convinced she was in there. We made an initial search and couldn't find anything so we brought the dog in but he did not indicate there were any survivors in there. Nuke scare ... smoke rises from No.3 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant "She was so grateful we had made the effort to look for her friend but it was very sad we didn't find her alive. It is a frustrating part of our job but at least now she knows and it gives her some closure." Dog handler Robin Furniss, of Hampshire Fire Service, was stunned at the scale of the damage he has seen. He said: "This is the first time I have worked at a tsunami and it was just incredible. I couldn't believe the level of destruction. Mass evacuation ... cars drive away from nuclear power plant "The sheer scale of it beggars belief. It was really sad to see people trying to salvage the few items they could from houses which were totally destroyed. "We have not found any survivors yet but we will keep looking." Pensioner Sai Abe was found in the wreckage of her home in Otuschi yesterday by son Hiromi as he scrabbled through debris, refusing to give up hope that his parents had survived. Hiromi said: "I couldn't lift her up and she couldn't escape because her legs are bad. My feelings are complicated, because I haven't found my father." Sai was taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia but appeared to have no life- threatening injuries. Elsewhere in the shattered town, where water supplies and electricity have failed, locals made do by washing clothes in a river. Thousands of Japanese people were yesterday still trying to locate loved ones after Friday's disaster. For Manami Kimura at least there was a happy ending as she discovered her mum at a shelter in Ishinomaki, where 2,000 bodies were found washed up on the shore on Monday. A US search and rescue helicopter yesterday spotted a seemingly intact house floating 12 miles off Japan's north coast. Starving Brit Keely: My nightmare trapped in City of Ghosts – Tokyo A BRITISH mum told last night of her terror trapped and starving in the eerie ghost town that is Tokyo after the tsunami. Keely Fujiyama, 37, phoned The Sun to describe a city in fear of nuclear catastrophe - with streets deserted and food, water and fuel running out. And she slammed the British Embassy for failing to help expats desperate to escape - after radiation levels from Japan's stricken nuclear reactors reached ten times normal. The mum of two said: "They fled and left us here to fry. I'm ashamed to call myself British." Keely, from Croydon, South London, has lived in Tokyo for ten years after marrying Japanese Ryu Fujiyama. She said: "I'm stuck inside a third-floor apartment in a part of the city that resembles a ghost- town. Normally the streets bustle like nowhere else on earth. "But I look outside now and they're completely deserted. It's like London in the zombie movie 28 Days Later. Plane .. queues at airport as people try to flee Tokyo Masatoshi Okauchi / Rex Features "The streets are silent. We live near the centre of Tokyo and yet there is no movement at all. "I'm scared, and shaky with hunger and really, really tired. I've got two hungry children and just a few crisps, oranges and a can of tuna. "I've had some juice today but I'm saving the rest for the children. There is no petrol, no water, no food. "On Tuesday, the radiation levels in Tokyo were ten times above normal and people started to panic. "What if, every day, radiation continues to double? "But with all this, the Prime Minister comes on television, telling us to be calm. There are constant aftershocks and I'm not taking my children on the Metro when the roof could fall in. "My children are already starving. I found three riceballs and some seaweed this morning in a local convenience store and took the last couple of water canisters." Mainly, Keely stays in her apartment in Tokyo's Nerima Ku suburb with Alex, four, and Nina, eight. She said: "We stay indoors, with the windows shut, except when my husband goes out to work or to try and find food. "At night the streets are dark and eerily quiet. The TV news has told us to take a shower when we've been outside, because of radiation worries. But the water is a funny colour and smells of bleach. There's sometimes a live feed on TV from the nuclear plant. Train ... child in a face mask at railway station "But mostly there's just a test card with gentle music and children making origami dragons." Although food shops are empty, Keely and her husband found a car dealership doing a roaring trade as people sought transport to flee the radiation threat. She said: "We went on Sunday to buy a 4x4. Nobody needs a car in Tokyo - it's not that sort of city - but we figured it might be the only way to get out. "The garage was packed with people who'd had the same thought. The amazing thing is though, that the Japanese are trying their best to help each other. "The old lady at the corner store gave me a hug. And there's no looting. Nobody's tried to take our water or the little food we have. "Most confusing is the rolling blackouts. You never know when there is going to be power or not. It's freezing cold in Toyko too. "There's even been a public information film on TV about how hospital equipment, like ventilators, can be worked by hand. "It's as though the government are preparing us for these blackouts to last for a long time. All they say is, 'It's not a problem. Don't worry'. That makes me even more terrified for my children." Keely claimed the British Embassy gave "no help or advice at all". She said: "The first to flee Tokyo have been British Embassy staff. I repeatedly rang the Tokyo number for our embassy - but there's just a recorded message saying, 'We are not taking calls'. "So I phoned the embassy in Osaka and got the same message. "I then rang the Foreign Office and got patched through to a crisis line man, who just told me to try and get on a plane. "I kept telling him we can't even get to the airport but he didn't seem concerned. "I was shaking. I feel like they're just leaving us here to fry. Automobile ... a woman tries to hitch-hike out of the capital Barcroft Media "I don't want my children to get cancer. The Japanese news tells us radiation in Tokyo isn't at harmful levels. But why would they tell us to wear masks otherwise? "I begged the Foreign Office man, 'Please help me'. But he told me if I raised my voice one more time he was terminating the call. "In desperation, I rang the US embassy and immediately a human voice asked, 'How can I help?' They can't do much as I'm British. But the contrast was staggering. "If I get out of Tokyo I want to go to America, Australia, anywhere. I have no faith in Britain any more. I don't want to see my country ever again." Emperor Akihito emerges in appeal JAPAN'S Emperor Akihito made a rare appearance live on TV yesterday - to beg his people not to give up. TV stations interrupted programmes to show him describing the crisis facing the nation as "unprecedented in scale". The 77-year-old - who is deeply respected and symbolic in Japan but rarely seen - revealed he was "deeply worried" by the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. ANYONE who has come into contact with troubled plant is checked He said: "I sincerely hope we can keep the situation from getting worse." He went on: "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times. "We don't know the number of victims, but I pray every single person can be saved." 15% energy bill hike fear GAS and electricity bills will rocket by 15 per cent this year due to the Japanese disaster, experts warned last night. The hike would push average annual dual-fuel bills up by £170 to a record of £1,320. Wholesale costs have soared on forecasts that Japan will consume huge quantities of natural gas to boost its economy. Paul Green of Energyhelpline.com, said: "There was already upward pressure as a result of instability in the Middle East. "What has happened in Japan can only intensify this trend. Already we are hearing about providers reassessing charges." £25bn loss for the City UK stocks suffered a £25billion drubbing in the City yesterday amid chaos in Japan, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. The FTSE 100 plunged 97.05 points to 5598.23. - with total losses in three days at £60bn. Oil rose back above $110 a barrel. And credit rating agencies added to the gloom by downgrading Portugal. Shares in Japan had gone UP as bargain hunters moved in. But Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid said markets will remain uneasy unless "the risk of a material nuclear leak is off the table". Goldman Sachs also estimated the cost of devastation in Japan at £124bn. SUICIDE MISSION: Hero nuke workers risk 'death sentence’ Heroes ... workers go into the plant THE 180 workers bravely battling to avert the Japanese nuclear crisis are being hailed as the heroes in the stricken nation. The men, known as the Fukushima 50, because that it the maximum number working during any one shift, are likely to die from massive radiation poisoning as they struggle to contain the crisis. In heart-breaking emails and texts, they have said goodbye to their families as the radiation levels at the Fukushima plant rise to dangerous levels. They are working around the clock to stop the wrecked reactors from overheating - taking it in turns to cool them with water. Nuclear experts have said the men are essentially sacrificing their lives by staying at the plant. Those that do survive the vast radiation levels will suffer devastating health problems for the rest of their lives. Their relatives have spoken of their mixture of pain and pride as the men try to save lives across Japan. A wife of one of the men said he had sent her an email saying: "Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while." Exclusion zone ... site of nuke crisis Japan stepped up its bid to prevent a nuclear meltdown today - as dramatic new footage emerged showing the ferocity of the tsunami that devastated the stricken country. Today helicopters were ordered to dump tonnes of water on the plant. Tonight the terrifying power of the tsunami was revealed in a video showing it turn from a trickle of water running down the road - into a deadly wave in a matter of seconds. The frightening force of the muddy tide becomes apparent as the torrents rage through the streets, sweeping away cars, people and homes. A local reporter filmed the footage after driving in a taxi across the city, when the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit. The video shows them joining other running people before diving into a nearby building and panicking as the water levels rise, running for the stairs. The true horror of what they're trying to escape from is then revealed as a black tide of water floods into the stairwell below them. Amazingly, they notice a helpless man holding two young children clinging dangerously to the top of a pile of cars. Using the buildings fire hose they eventually pluck him and another woman from the raging torrent below, along with several other survivors clinging to trees and vehicles. Today as radiation continued to spread from the plant's, the UK government announced plans to evacuate all Brits directly affected by the Japanese disaster by charter plane. And the UK and US have said their search teams will pull out of Japan completely tomorrow. One expert warned of the catastrophic situation at the nuclear site yesterday: "This could be as bad as Chernobyl." Most of the teams battling to contain the crisis at the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant were forced to flee the site last night as radiation levels hit 300 times the normal level. Military helicopters were called in to dump water on the plant after being turned away yesterday due to the high radiation levels. Water cannons joined the operation later, spraying the fire well into the night. Meanwhile, the official number of missing following the earthquake and tsunami continues to rise with the toll now standing at 14,650 — with 5,321 confirmed deaths. There are fears the final number of lives lost may reach 25,000. Battling on ... chopper scoops water from sea to dump on nuke plant Soaring levels of radiation were last night detected well outside the 18-mile exclusion zone that has been thrown around the plant. And 170 miles away in the capital Tokyo, they were ten times the normal level. Meanwhile today it was revealed that radioactive particles are heading eastwards from Japan and are expected to reach North America within days. Spread ... radioactive plume heading towards North America Swedish Defence Research Institute director Lars-Erik De Geer predicted the particles would continue across the Atlantic and eventually reach Europe. But he stressed the radiation was low level and would not pose any danger to people. This morning it was announced that any Brits affected by the disaster will be flown home to the UK free of charge on charter planes. Flights from Tokyo to Hong Kong will be available for anyone who wants to leave the stricken country, and passengers will be able to travel back to Britain from there, the Foreign Office said. The offer of help came hours after the Foreign Office advised Brits to get out of the city. Earlier it warned UK citizens to stay outside a 50-mile (80km) zone around the Fukushima facility, echoing an American edict to its people. Spiralling out of control ... how reactors have posed increasing risk of meltdown As the world watched the unfolding disaster, some nations accused the Japanese government of trying to hide the fact they had lost their grip on the crisis. EU officials spoke of an "apocalypse" and French government spokesman Francois Baroin said: "In the worst of cases, it could have an impact worse than Chernobyl." The 1986 disaster at a nuclear power station in Ukraine sent a plume of radioactivity across Europe and is regarded as the worst in history. French Industry Minister Eric Besson said: "Let's not beat about the bush. They have lost control of the situation." And French nuclear safety boss Thierry Charles said: "The next 48 hours will be decisive. I am pessimistic." Victor Gilinsky, former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission member, added: "The actual radiation releases could approach that category of Chernobyl." Dr Thomas Neff, an American-based physicist and uranium-industry analyst, agreed - describing the Fukushima crisis as a "slow-moving nightmare". At Fukushima, made up of the Daiichi and Daimi plants, the teams attempting to cool down the overheating reactors had to pull back 500 yards yesterday as contamination levels soared. They resorted to using police water cannons to spray the area. Military helicopters also flew overhead to drop giant buckets of sea water on the plant. But a heroic group of 180 workers later returned to the perilous task - saying they were "ready to die." The groups took incredible risks as they tried to bring the crisis under control. Wrecked ... the badly damaged Number 4 unit of the Fukushima nuclear power plant Small work parties of 50 at a time dashed into the plant. Wearing overalls, face masks, thick gloves and carrying breathing apparatus, they swiftly doused the area with cooling sea water. After 15 minutes they were ordered out in an effort to minimise their risk of contamination. One man had to be rushed to hospital after suffering nausea and exhaustion after he opened a valve to reduce a build-up of steam at the plant. Tokyo radiation expert Keiichi Nakagawa hailed the incredible bravery of the work teams. He said: "They are like suicide fighters in a war. I don't know any other way to describe it." The Japanese government yesterday raised the maximum allowable exposure for nuclear workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts. It was described as "unavoidable due to circumstances". Readings outside the reactors had hit 600 msv by last night. Despair ... British rescue worker takes a minute to rest as the search for the tsunami victims continued Heartbreaking ... victim's body lies covered in Rikuzentakat, as official death toll soars to more than 5,000 Above 1,000 msv the cancer risk rises by five per cent. Above 10,000 msv the doses are deadly. More than 140,000 people living within the exclusion zone have been ordered to stay indoors. Around 180,000 of those living closest to the plant have already been evacuated. France became the first major nation to tell its citizens to leave Japan yesterday, with Australia swift to follow. Three of the reactors at the plant have now been damaged in explosions caused by Friday's devastating quake, while a fire has broken out at a fourth. Government officials yesterday began to block-book charter flights to help Brits get out of Japan. Foreign Secretary William Hague could announce an evacuation as early as today. Another option being considered is an evacuation within Japan, hiring trains and coaches to move thousands of Brits to the safer southern areas. The French government also asked Air France to step up flights between Tokyo and Paris, so that everybody who wants to leave can. Exodus ... queues at airport yesterday as people try to flee Tokyo Examined ... a little dog gets a radiation check at a screening center in Fukushima Meanwhile furious British rescue workers were on their way home last night, claiming the UK embassy in Tokyo failed to give them the paperwork needed to get them to the disaster zone. International Rescue Corps staff spoke of "sheer disbelief" that their efforts had been scuppered by red tape. They needed a letter confirming they were a UK charity before the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs would release supplies of rationed petrol. One of the group, Willie McMartin, said: "The UK embassy in Tokyo refused to issue that letter, in spite of having talked to the Japanese embassy in London, because they said they would then become responsible for the team." Agony ... notes seeking missing relatives in Natori Search ... Kenji Sugawara, with a photo of his miising wife, looks for her through the remains of the devastated city of Otsuchi Brits fleeing Japan arrived at Heathrow yesterday saying they had escaped a living hell. Neil Bevan, 43, said: "It's horrendous out there. I've been living there for 18 years. We're used to earthquakes, we deal with them every day, but the radiation is a different story." US Marines last night landed in north-eastern Japan to help with the growing humanitarian crisis. A plane landed amid a snowstorm at a heavily damaged airfield in Matsushima. Escape ... young girl in face mask at railway station Millions of Japanese people struggled with little food, water or heat yesterday on the sixth day since the devastating quake and tsunami. More than 452,000 people are staying in temporary shelters, many sleeping on the floor in school gymnasiums. There were also reports of 30 children still waiting in their classroom for their parents to collect them six days after the horror four-storey wall of water swept through the coastal city of Ishinomaki. Conditions worsened yesterday as freezing weather brought widespread snow - hampering efforts to find survivors in the quake-shattered towns. In devastated northern Japan, workers in makeshift morgues are trying to identify nameless victims by posting lists containing descriptions of the dead and listing what they had in their pockets. Devastation ... smashed house and cars in the town of Otsuchi Overwhelmed ... Foreign Office cartoon In Natori one entry read: "Female. About 50. Peanuts in left chest pocket. Large mole. Seiko watch." Yesterday, one description caught the eye of Hideki Kano. He stared, then said: "That's my mum" - before dashing towards the morgue. Loyal dog saves pal from rubble Rescue ... spaniel A SHAKING and mud-splattered spaniel emerges from rubble to lead rescuers to a stricken pal in this heartwarming video from devastated Japan. The exhausted animal had loyally remained with his four-legged chum since the earthquake and tsunami obliterated his home six days ago. Reporters were covering the destruction in Ibaraki Prefecture, north-east Japan, when the canine appeared and led them back to the remains of a nearby house. There they found the injured animal, they initially believed was dead, lying amongst the wreckage. Video: Japanese dog won't leave friend AMAZING video shows animal's incredible loyalty after horror tsunami. When they spotted the second dog stirring they called in a team from Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, while his cold and bewildered companion returned to sit steadfastly in the spot at his pal's side where he had stood guard since Friday's disaster. Wanting to stay watch over his mate, the spaniel refused to move for another hour before the pair could be separated and the injured dog whisked off to vets in nearby Mito. His hero chum was taken to a shelter nearby. The dog had been wearing a collar but it is not known if his owner survived the horror four- storey wall of water that swept through the district. Viewers of the touching footage, which has been posted on YouTube, have praised the brave pooch, with one saying: "That dog is a better person than most humans. "Loyalty is the best word to use when you describe a dog. Truly, man's best friend is a well- deserved title." Two pulled from rubble 4 days on Devastated ... people leave crippled area of Otsuchi where 70-year-old woman was found TWO rare tales of hope came out of Japan today as a 70-year-old woman and a man were pulled alive from the rubble four days after the devastating tsunami. The rescues came as the National Police Agency said 2,722 people had been confirmed dead and at least 3,742 were still missing. Search teams were today continuing to face great difficulty reaching some of the disaster-torn areas and tracing those missing. But miraculously the 70-year-old woman - named as Sai Abe - was plucked from the debris in the shattered town of Otsuchi. Reports in the Japanese media said she was suffering from hypothermia and was taken to hospital, but was not in a life-threatening condition. A man in his 20s was also rescued in the town of Ishimaki in the hard-hit Miyagi prefecture, where 2,000 bodies were found yesterday. The NHK network quoted the man as saying: "I was washed away by the tsunami but I am alright." On Sunday, the police chief of Miyagi said the number of deaths was expected to exceed 10,000 in his region alone. According to official figures, more than 55,380 homes and other buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the combined force of the 9.0 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami, with police saying more than 3,000 houses were flooded and 130 homes burned. Trapped Brits rap Embassy TERRIFIED Britons trapped in Japan accused Embassy staff yesterday of not doing enough to help them escape. Phone calls are being diverted to a UK hotline, but a woman in worst-hit Sendai claimed it took her THIRTY attempts to get through. Then an official asked: "Where's Sendai?" The English teacher, 22, from Norwich, said: "We're scared and don't know what to do. "The EU put on a bus to Tokyo for Europeans but we didn't hear until it was too late. They don't know what they're doing." Rosie Caffyn, from Croydon, South London, complained she received no help after alerting the Foreign Office about her stranded student daughter Alice, 21, in Sendai. There were similar complaints from Brits in Bahrain. But officials insisted all embassies were fully manned and the hotlines worked fine. Naomi’s cash aid to Japan Incredible ... Naomi Campbell shows off her awesome physique NAOMI CAMPBELL flaunted her toned body on the catwalk as she raised money for victims of the Japanese earthquake at a charity show last night. The supermodel, 40, took over a market square in Cannes to host the event and cash in on moneybags A-listers in town for the annual film festival. Naomi's been in the business for many years, but she looked in awesome shape as she strutted down the runway in a selection of eye-catching outfits. A low-cut black leotard with a long train showed off her famous athletic limbs to perfection. She also looked ultra feminine in a sheer white and black flowery dress She said: "The destruction is completely heartbreaking. "I felt very passionate to help in whatever way possible." Cut-away Queen ... Naomi Campbell Hollywood actress ZOE SALDANA and British TV legend BRUCE FORSYTH joined a host of models on the catwalk. Brucie bonus ... Naomi meets Forsyth and his wife Wilnelia Merced JANE FONDA closed the show in a gold couture dress. The Japanese government yesterday said it will take up to nine months to stabilise the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. It has been leaking radiation since March's quake. Flower power ... Naomi on the runway Getty After the show Naomi donned a corset mini dress to continue the party in Cannes. Hitting the town ... Naomi Campbell Ben Eade/GoffPhotos.com Abandoned city...Tokyo in rush hour Fear ... Keely Fujiyana's children in masks TOKYO during the rush hour is one of the world's busiest cities. Commuters cram on to subways and the roads are jam-packed. But yesterday the city was eerily deserted as families stayed indoors for fear of contamination by radiation spilling from the Fukushima nuclear plant 170 miles away. British mum-of-two Keely Fujiyama, 37, who lives in the busy suburb of Nermia Ku with husband Ryu and her kids Nina and Alex, said: "Usually it would be buzzing with crowds around here. "The subway station is packed at this time. Family ... British mum Keely with her kids "Now there are just a few individuals scurrying through on their way home. Most haunting is the playground. It's absolutely empty. It's been like that for days. People keep their kids close now. Video: Tokyo the abandoned city JAPANESE capital deserted following mass evacuations • Sky News "The supermarket usually closes at 11pm at night but now it closes at 6pm. There's little point staying open because all the food and water's gone." As Keely ventured out to take pictures of the ghost town the latest quake aftershock hit. She said: "We're all so scared. You never know once it starts whether it's going to turn into another big one. I'm desperate to get out with my kids. But my husband is involved in handing out food and he doesn't want to leave Tokyo. Jam-free ... no queue in sight on roads "His family are here. He also feels he has to stay working for the sake of Japan. That is the culture out here - they are a proud nation. They help each other." Chris Gould, 27, an English teacher with a Japanese wife, said the many foreigners in Tokyo feared the country was sliding into chaos - and were uneasy about the risks from the nuclear crisis. All quiet ... normally packed subway station He added: "It is getting really freaky out here. It's like something from a sci-fi film. "I am staying put for now even though it's becoming more and more of a worry. Many of the foreigners are desperate to leave. Empty ... no children at playground "Of the 100 expats I know I'd say 30 of them have left, either to the far south of Japan or to their home countries. I know of Brits who have gone back to the UK. Others are considering going. "The Japanese in general are a lot calmer. They are saying, 'Don't worry'. But I'm not so sure." Chris said a friend who has a device that reads radiation levels says they are well above normal in Tokyo. Rush hour ...how busy Tokyo usually looks He added: "But it's not just the radiation which is a worry. The country's infrastructure is breaking down. "I confess I have been panic buying - frozen food, drinks that sort of thing. There are also fuel shortages." Live well, I cannot be home for a while A HEROIC nuclear worker risking all to save Japan's stricken Fukushima plant sent a message to his wife saying: "Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while." Mission ... choppers scoop water from the sea The poignant note was disclosed as radiation levels around the power station's shattered reactors were rated "potentially lethal". And the daughter of another employee said: "My father says he has accepted his fate much like a death sentence." The brave workers are among 180 struggling round the clock to cool super-hot fuel rods that could trigger a catastrophic meltdown. They work in constantly rotating teams of 50, going into radiation hotspots for only 15 minutes at a time to limit their exposure. Above them yesterday, military helicopters dumped 2,000-gallon loads of water scooped from the sea on to the six reactors. Exposed ... the top of Fukushima's No4 reactor, devastated by the explosion that followed the quake The battle to save the plant - devastated by last Friday's quake and tsunami, and subsequent explosions - continued as: EXPERTS said radioactive particles blown by trade winds are likely to hit California today and will eventually reach Britain, though in low concentrations not considered dangerous; A REVIEW on plans to build eight new nuclear reactors in the UK was ordered by the Government; AIRLINES flying out of Japan began scanning planes and passengers for radiation, and A BRITISH rescue team hunting for survivors of the quake and tsunami pulled out of the country after its fruitless search came to a natural conclusion. Alone in the cold ... woman tramps through snow and flood in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki The head of America's Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, delivered a grim verdict on the Fukushima crisis. As a nine-member team from the Pentagon headed to Japan to help, Mr Jaczko said: "It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. "The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal in a very short period of time." But it did not stop the 180 trying - as frantic relatives feared for their safety. One woman said on Twitter: "My dad went to the nuclear plant, I've never seen my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive." A female employee named Michiko Otsuki insisted she and her colleagues would not shirk their responsibilities. She said in a blog: "Staff continue to work even at the peril of their own lives." Cooling ... water is dropped on reactors Offering a ray of hope, officials said the plant's cooling system could be reconnected today after a power line was successfully attached to a reactor last night. One claimed radiation levels "have somewhat stabilised". But some Japanese living near the power station said they had been abandoned to their fate. The mayor of Minimisoma, 12 miles away, said: "The government doesn't tell us anything. We are isolated. They're leaving us to die." North-westerly winds blew particles across the Pacific yesterday - and experts predicted the entire northern hemisphere would eventually be affected. But Swedish research director Lars-Erik De Geer said: "It is only a question of very low activity so it is nothing for people to worry about. Fear ... elderly woman is scanned for radiation "In the past there have been nuclear weapons tests in China. "Then there were similar clouds all the time without anybody caring about it." In Britain, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne called for a report from the UK's chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman into the implications of the Japan crisis on new and existing plants here. Mr Huhne said: "Safety is the No1 priority." Greenpeace called for the approval process for new power stations to be suspended until Dr Weightman delivers his findings. Air France last night confirmed it was testing jets and crew for radiation on flights from Japan. Germany's Lufthansa scrapped all flights to Tokyo, moving them south to Osaka and Nagoya. But British Airways said only it would "explore its options" and continued to operate in Tokyo. Brits in race for flights BRITS desperate to flee Japan's nuclear nightmare yesterday poured into Tokyo airport seeking flights to safety. The first UK government evacuation flight will leave tonight, taking families to Hong Kong. Tragic ... hubby grieves for dead wife But many expats yesterday packed on commercial flights after British Airways made extra spaces available for those desperate to escape the country's growing nuclear nightmare. Teacher Dale Harrison said: "The situation is at crisis point. No one seems to know what's happening." Radiation yesterday continued to spill from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor as the official death toll from last week's quake and tsunami rose to 5,178. A further 8,913 are missing, feared dead. Another 450,000 are living in makeshift shelters while 850,000 are feared to be without adequate food or water. Video: Race to leave Tokyo DESPERATE foreigners flood Tokyo airport in bid to flee nuclear nightmare • News Tokyo's Narita Airport was packed yesterday with Brits and other foreigners looking for flights. Queues tailed back at check-in as people waiting for a plane slept on benches and the floor. The UK government has block-booked 200 seats on a flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong tonight exclusively for use by British nationals. They plan to charter a second flight tomorrow. The trips will be free to any directly affected by the tsunami and earthquake. Others will be charged £600 a seat. British Airways has sent its biggest jets to Tokyo to make as many seats as possible available. Buses and trains are also taking Brits to safety in southern Japan, which is undamaged by the quake. There are still no UK nationals among those known to have died. But Foreign Secretary William Hague said there were "severe concerns" about some still missing. By 4pm yesterday about a quarter of the seats on the first charter flight had been taken. Throughout towns shattered by the tsunami, the hunt for survivors continued yesterday - hampered by freezing temperatures and snow. Many Japanese people have begun carrying pictures of missing loved ones pinned to their clothes. REVEALED: The stricken nuclear reactor spewing radiation Terror ... hole in wall of Fukushima plant reveals point of leak Japan Crisis in Numbers 6,539 confirmed dead 10,354 still missing 410,000 people in 12 prefectures evacuated Nearly 320,000 households without electricity At least 87,772 buildings damaged £37.9billion to £75.8billion cost of damage 117 countries offer aid THIS terrifying image reveals for the first time the cause of the catastrophic nuclear meltdown threatening to engulf Japan. Shocking pictures show where overheating fuel rods are exposed to the elements through a giant hole in the wall of a reactor at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. Radiation particles are spewing into the atmosphere from the uranium rods at reactor No4 — left a pile of rubble by a series of explosions following last week's earthquake and tsunami. The rods are usually stored in a 45ft deep storage pool filled with water — but the raging fires at the plant have boiled them dry. Today the boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears. Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri cried as he left a conference to brief journalists on the situation at Fukushima. Tonight reports said electricity had been reconnected to one of the reactors. A senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. Meanwhile reports say the fallout from the nuclear crisis has reached Southern California — although the first readings in the US are "about a billion times" beneath health-threatening levels. Tears ... Tokyo Electric Power Company managing director Akio Komori Barack Obama had appealed for calm after experts warned that a low level radioactive plume would hit America before sweeping west towards Europe. It could hit the UK in just TWO WEEKS. The UK's Health Protection Agency stressed there was no health risk to British residents from the release of radioactive material. Meanwhile, the evacuation of Britons from the disaster-hit country gathered pace as the situation at the dangerously overheated nuclear facility continued to deteriorate. Japan raised its grade for the nuclear accident from four to five on a scale of seven today. The French Nuclear Agency has already categorised it a six. Only the devastating explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 has topped the scale. Frightening ... image shows wrecked plant and how the uranium rods should sit in their pool Staggering satellite images of the coast of Souma City, Fukushima, also emerged today revealing the huge reach of the quake's devastating tsunami wave. Nuclear experts in Japan have revealed they may consider encasing Fukushima in concrete as a last resort to avert disaster as nearly 200 brave workers risk their lives to cool its crippled reactors. Mission ... choppers scoop water from the sea Engineers admitted burying the whole facility in sand and concrete may be the only way to prevent a catastrophic release. The same method was used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl. The desperate measure was being contemplated as a heroic worker risking all to save the stricken plant sent a message to his wife saying: "Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while." The poignant note was disclosed as radiation levels around the power station's shattered reactors were rated "potentially lethal". Death sentence And the daughter of another employee said: "My father says he has accepted his fate much like a death sentence." The brave workers are among 180 struggling round the clock to cool the super-hot fuel rods. They work in constantly rotating teams of 50, going into radiation hotspots for only 15 minutes at a time to limit their exposure. Yukiya Amano, head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, said: "I think they are racing against the clock." Impact ... satellite images show the coast of Souma City, Fukushima, before (right) and after Above them yesterday, military helicopters dumped 2,000-gallon loads of water scooped from the sea on to the six reactors but these missions have now been discontinued. The battle to save the plant - devastated by last Friday's quake and tsunami, and subsequent explosions - continued as: EXPERTS said radioactive particles blown by trade winds are likely to hit California today and will eventually reach Britain, though in low concentrations not considered dangerous; A REVIEW on plans to build eight new nuclear reactors in the UK was ordered by the Government; AIRLINES flying out of Japan began scanning planes and passengers for radiation, and a BRITISH rescue team hunting for survivors of the quake and tsunami pulled out of the country after its fruitless search came to a natural conclusion. Alone in the cold ... woman tramps through snow and flood in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki The head of America's Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, delivered a grim verdict on the Fukushima crisis as tsunami survivors observed a minute's silence a week since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck at 2.46pm last Friday. Minute's silence ... rescue workers pay their respects on the one-week anniversary of the tsunami quake As a nine-member team from the Pentagon headed to Japan to help, Mr Jaczko said: "It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. "The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal in a very short period of time." But it did not stop the 180 trying - as frantic relatives feared for their safety. One woman said on Twitter: "My dad went to the nuclear plant, I've never seen my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive." A female employee named Michiko Otsuki insisted she and her colleagues would not shirk their responsibilities. She said in a blog: "Staff continue to work even at the peril of their own lives." Cooling ... water is dropped on reactors Offering a ray of hope, officials said the plant's cooling system could be reconnected today after a power line was successfully attached to a reactor last night. But there were still fears electricity could short out and cause another explosion. One claimed radiation levels "have somewhat stabilised". But some Japanese living near the power station said they had been abandoned to their fate. The mayor of Minimisoma, 12 miles away, said: "The government doesn't tell us anything. We are isolated. They're leaving us to die." North-westerly winds blew particles across the Pacific yesterday - and experts predicted the entire northern hemisphere would eventually be affected. But Swedish research director Lars-Erik De Geer said: "It is only a question of very low activity so it is nothing for people to worry about. Fear ... elderly woman is scanned for radiation "In the past there have been nuclear weapons tests in China. "Then there were similar clouds all the time without anybody caring about it." Despite the optimism, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako have decided not to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton next month in light of the crisis at home. In Britain, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne called for a report from the UK's chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman into the implications of the Japan crisis on new and existing plants here. Mr Huhne said: "Safety is the No1 priority." Greenpeace called for the approval process for new power stations to be suspended until Dr Weightman delivers his findings. Air France last night confirmed it was testing jets and crew for radiation on flights from Japan. Germany's Lufthansa scrapped all flights to Tokyo, moving them south to Osaka and Nagoya. But British Airways said only it would "explore its options" and continued to operate in Tokyo. In financial markets, shares in Europe rose as investors looked for bargains after the crash caused by the devastation. Japanese firms holding savings in US dollars are set to exchange them for yen to fund reconstruction. As a result, the yen hit a record high against the dollar. Live well, I cannot be home for a while A HEROIC nuclear worker risking all to save Japan's stricken Fukushima plant sent a message to his wife saying: "Please continue to live well, I cannot be home for a while." Mission ... choppers scoop water from the sea The poignant note was disclosed as radiation levels around the power station's shattered reactors were rated "potentially lethal". And the daughter of another employee said: "My father says he has accepted his fate much like a death sentence." The brave workers are among 180 struggling round the clock to cool super-hot fuel rods that could trigger a catastrophic meltdown. They work in constantly rotating teams of 50, going into radiation hotspots for only 15 minutes at a time to limit their exposure. Above them yesterday, military helicopters dumped 2,000-gallon loads of water scooped from the sea on to the six reactors. Exposed ... the top of Fukushima's No4 reactor, devastated by the explosion that followed the quake The battle to save the plant - devastated by last Friday's quake and tsunami, and subsequent explosions - continued as: EXPERTS said radioactive particles blown by trade winds are likely to hit California today and will eventually reach Britain, though in low concentrations not considered dangerous; A REVIEW on plans to build eight new nuclear reactors in the UK was ordered by the Government; AIRLINES flying out of Japan began scanning planes and passengers for radiation, and A BRITISH rescue team hunting for survivors of the quake and tsunami pulled out of the country after its fruitless search came to a natural conclusion. Alone in the cold ... woman tramps through snow and flood in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki The head of America's Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, delivered a grim verdict on the Fukushima crisis. As a nine-member team from the Pentagon headed to Japan to help, Mr Jaczko said: "It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. "The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal in a very short period of time." But it did not stop the 180 trying - as frantic relatives feared for their safety. One woman said on Twitter: "My dad went to the nuclear plant, I've never seen my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive." A female employee named Michiko Otsuki insisted she and her colleagues would not shirk their responsibilities. She said in a blog: "Staff continue to work even at the peril of their own lives." Cooling ... water is dropped on reactors Offering a ray of hope, officials said the plant's cooling system could be reconnected today after a power line was successfully attached to a reactor last night. One claimed radiation levels "have somewhat stabilised". But some Japanese living near the power station said they had been abandoned to their fate. The mayor of Minimisoma, 12 miles away, said: "The government doesn't tell us anything. We are isolated. They're leaving us to die." North-westerly winds blew particles across the Pacific yesterday - and experts predicted the entire northern hemisphere would eventually be affected. But Swedish research director Lars-Erik De Geer said: "It is only a question of very low activity so it is nothing for people to worry about. Fear ... elderly woman is scanned for radiation "In the past there have been nuclear weapons tests in China. "Then there were similar clouds all the time without anybody caring about it." In Britain, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne called for a report from the UK's chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman into the implications of the Japan crisis on new and existing plants here. ABANDONED CITY... TOKYO IN RUSH HOUR Mr Huhne said: "Safety is the No1 priority." Greenpeace called for the approval process for new power stations to be suspended until Dr Weightman delivers his findings. Air France last night confirmed it was testing jets and crew for radiation on flights from Japan. Germany's Lufthansa scrapped all flights to Tokyo, moving them south to Osaka and Nagoya. But British Airways said only it would "explore its options" and continued to operate in Tokyo. In financial markets, shares in Europe rose as investors looked for bargains after the crash caused by the devastation. Japanese firms holding savings in US dollars are set to exchange them for yen to fund reconstruction. As a result, the yen hit a record high against the dollar. Button makes Japan tribute FORMULA ONE star Jenson Button has saluted the "brave people of Japan" — home of his girlfriend Jessica Michibata. Button, 31, is preparing for F1's season-opening race in Melbourne next weekend. But he said his heart was with Japan, where he has scores of friends as well as model Jessica, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The 2009 world champ, who has a tattoo in Japanese characters meaning "No1" on his ankle, added: "In the past have always travelled to Melbourne full of positive energy and enthusiasm. "But, at the moment, my heart is with the people of Japan as they struggle to come to terms with the scope of the terrible devastation and loss of life wreaked by last week's earthquake and tsunami. "While the prospect of a Formula One race seems to pale in the face of such a disaster, there have been occasions before when the healing power of sport can actually be beneficial, an escape for people. "So I go to Melbourne resolving to not only try my best, but also to salute the brave people and my many friends throughout Japan." Nuclear plant hit by US twisters Devastation ... man searches through remains of his home A NUCLEAR power plant in the US is being monitored by safety regulators after a monster storm cut off its electricity. At least 45 people have been killed after more than 60 tornados cut swathes through Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia at the weekend. Power ... electricity cut off at nuclear plant Two nuclear reactors at the Virginia Power station shut down automatically when the storms hit and the power to the station was cut. The situation was described as an "unusual event" by the Nuclear Regulatory commission — but they said that no radiation had been released. Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant began leaking radiation when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused it to lose power and its cooling systems failed. North Carolina has taken the brunt of the severe weather — as many as 95 tornadoes hit on Saturday, killing at least 22 people. Trashed ... store in North Carolina The massive twisters also ripped through 130 homes and heavily damaged 700 more. Nearly 250 tornadoes were reported from Oklahoma to North Carolina in just THREE days. Flash floods and hailstones the size of grapefruit added to the terror. Video: US hit by dozens of tornados AT least 35 people were killed as more than 60 twisters hit the southern states Meteorologist Scott Sharp said: "This was a once every decade or two event for North Carolina." Rescue operations chief Duncan Hughes, Jr. said: "Trees, houses - everything just splintered. "You had to see it to believe it. "Families were just wiped off the map - you'll see a house and all that is left is a cement slab." New level of fear at plant JAPAN'S public health fears were upped today after radiation was found in Tokyo's tap water - just hours after nuclear experts raised the risk from the crippled Fukushima power plant to a deadly Level Five. Raising the level confirms there is a high probability the public will be exposed to radiation - and in amounts that could be fatal. It also turned the disaster from being a local problem to one "with wider consequences" and confirmed there has been significant damage to the reactor cores and the release of large amounts of radiation. Threat ... situation of reactors at Fukushima plant Tokyo's drinking water scare came as Japanese authorities stopped food sales in the areas around the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant. More than 36million people have access to the capital's water supply - in which traces radioactive iodine have been detected. Abnormal levels of radiation were found in the water supply in four other regions around the capital. The levels were not said to be hazardous. Meanwhile Japanese authorities halted all food sales in the areas around the Fukushima plant after high levels of radioactivity were found in milk and spinach in the region. Government spokesman Yukio Edano said today: "Radiation exceeding the limit under Japanese law was detected." The nuclear emergency at Three Mile Island power station in the US in 1979 - when melting fuel rods threatened to kill thousands across Pennsylvania - was also Level Five. The Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986, which is estimated to have led to the deaths of thousands, was just two notches up the scale at Level Seven. Until yesterday the threat level at Fukushima had been at Level Four. Japan's nuke experts made a reassessment after international criticism they were underplaying the incident. France had already called for the incident to be Level Six. Shortly after the new danger level was announced Akio Komori, boss of the Tokyo Electric Power Company which runs the plant, was pictured breaking down in tears. He had just watched Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan go on TV and admit to the nation the situation was "serious". International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, himself Japanese, described it as "very grave" - and insisted the country must reach out for all the international help it can get. Tragic ... victims' coffins lined up in Miyagi There is already a 12 mile exclusion zone around the plant. But last night experts said they believed it should be extended to 50 miles. US scientists said monitoring equipment flown over the region had proved there is a wider danger. In Tokyo, 160 miles to the south of Fukushima, tests showed "slightly elevated" radiation levels - with the capital's 12 million habitants glued to weather forecasts to see if the wind direction is about to change. But a town halfway between Tokyo and Fukushima, Maebashi, has already seen radiation levels rise to TEN times higher than normal. A lightly-contaminated cloud of radiation even reached California - hours after President Barack Obama reassured citizens he did not expect harmful particles to drift across the Pacific. Nuclear experts in Japan yesterday admitted they are now considering encasing the reactors at Fukushima in concrete, the method used to seal the radiation leak at Chernobyl. A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power conceded: "It is not impossible to encase the reactors - but our priority is to cool them down first." National nuclear energy spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said: "That solution is in the back of our minds." The Japanese government yesterday admitted it had been overwhelmed by the quake and tsunami - and failed to react quickly enough to the nuclear emergency. Nuke scale ... the seven levels Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: "In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation." But there are signs of hope. There were reports that the contamination at Fukushima may have fallen slightly in the past 24 hours. And power to the plant was restored last night. Heroic disaster workers, who have vowed death before failure, now believe they will be able to get water pump coolers working. They hope it will bring down the heat in reactors one and two today. And tomorrow they will attempt to do the same on reactor three. It has been giving most concern with coolant bubbling into steam and now at danger levels.But Professor John Price, a former British nuclear safety adviser, believes the pumps could have already been damaged beyond hope by the quake, the tsunami or the explosion that rocked the plant. He said: "The problem is we don't know whether connecting up those wires is actually going to make a difference." But while the battle to stop nuclear disaster continued, the aftermath of the quake and tsunami are still a major concern. Latest estimates suggest more than 452,000 people are homeless, 343,000 households still have no electricity and a million homes have no water. Steve McDonald of Save the Children said 100,000 homeless youngsters are in danger from chest infections and flu. There are already 17,227 feared dead. The country came to a halt for a minute's silence at 2.46pm yesterday - the exact moment the undersea quake struck a week ago. The cost to Japan's economy was yesterday put at between £80billion and £140billion. But countries around the world are doing their best to help, with the Bank of England yesterday selling £150million-worth of Japanese Yen to reduce its value and make it easier for Japanese firms to export. Incredibly, the quake was felt more than 6,000 miles away, picked up on equipment used by experts on the Isle of Wight. Britain will also feel the economic consequences - with estimates the cost of natural gas will rise by 15 per cent as countries turn away from nuclear energy. It was also announced yesterday that The Queen is to make a personal donation to help Japan and New Zealand, also hit by a quake.The amount was not disclosed. And Formula One star Jenson Button yesterday offered his condolences to Japan, home of model girlfriend Jessica Michibata, 26. Button, 31, said: "My heart is with the people." Japan PM visits devastated town Destruction ... Japan's PM visits Rikuzentakata JAPAN'S prime minister today surveyed the damage caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed as many as 25,000. His visit came as officials revealed that highly radioactive water was leaking into the sea from the nuclear power station stricken by the disaster. The Fukushima plant has been spewing radioactivity since March 11, when its cooling systems were knocked out by the tsunami. Prime Minister Naoto Kan went to the plant and flew over the tsunami-damaged coast soon after the wave hit, but today was the first time he set foot in one of the pulverized towns. Dressed in the blue work clothes that have become almost a uniform for officials, Kan stopped in Rikuzentakata, where the town hall is one of the few buildings still standing. All its windows are blown out and a tangle of metal and other debris is piled in front of it. The prime minister bowed his head for a minute of silence in front of the building. He met with the town's mayor, whose 38-year-old wife was swept away in the wave and is still missing. Officials fear about 25,000 people may have been killed, many of whose bodies have not been found. Supplies ... Naoto Kan met power station workers Kan later told 250 people at a school serving as an evacuation centre: "The government fully supports you until the end." A new leak in the Fukushima station was discovered today. The crack in a maintenance pit on the edge of the complex was apparently caused by the quake and may have been leaking since then. Tokyo Electric Power Co, which operates the site, is trying to pour concrete to seal the eight- inch fissure. Workers say the tsunami littered the grounds with dead fish that remain scattered throughout the plant, attracting birds - and possibly helping to spread the contamination. Riding the tsunami Dramatic ... wall of water builds in front of ship DRAMATIC new footage of the tsunami that devastated Japan has emerged on YouTube — showing the killer wave building momentum at sea. Filmed from the deck of a ship ten miles out in the Pacific Ocean, the tsunami is first seen as an ominous dark strip on the horizon. As it approaches, the swelling starts to block out the sky. The boat rides right up the colossal wave before plunging over the other side — incredibly managing to remain upright. When it finally broke on the shore, the ten-metre tsunami swallowed everything in its path, obliterating whole towns and making more than 360,000 people homeless. Its death toll is still being calculated but is expected to top 20,000. The tsunami, started by a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake out at sea, also gushed over Fukushima nuclear power station — knocking out its cooling systems. Workers are still struggling to restore the power and stop the station going into full meltdown. Horror images of Japan tsunami Gone .... Sendai neighbourhood wiped out THIS haunting image shows the devastating aftermath of the Japanese tsunami — an entire neighbourhood simply wiped out. The before and after pictures of the once bustling residential streets in the north-eastern city of Sendai show the sheer scale of the destruction caused when the huge wall of water hit on March 11. In one rows of cosy homes sit side by side — in the other foundations are the only reminder that the houses ever stood. More heartbreaking scenes emerged from nearby Higashimatsushima City, where huge pits are being dug for a mass burial. As the official death toll is expected to reach 18,000, local volunteers in hazmat suits are preparing to bury their neighbours, friends and even family in long rows separated by simple wooden slats. Tragic ... Japanese survivors prepare to bury the dead in mass graves As the teams search slowly through the rubble of their former streets, the only pauses are to say a prayer when they come across a body. The mass graves are a sign of how desperate Japan has become. It is almost unheard of for a body to be buried, with cremation being widely used instead. Prayers ...workers stop as they find another body in the rubble Many survivors have little time to mourn as they are still watching another unfolding tragedy in their battered country. Workers were evacuated from the Fukushima power plant this morning after smoke was seen billowing from the No3 reactor. The Fukushima 50 — 580 workers who cover shifts in groups of 50 — are battling to save the shattered nuclear plant by spraying sea water on its shell to keep it cool after its cooling systems were knocked out last week. Radiation levels in the plant are now so high, that they know they face certain death, but stay on at the plant to protect the rest of the population from further disaster. Ominous ... smoke rises from the Fukushima plant Their plans suffered a setback today, when government officials said the sea water being pumped on to the plant could be CORRODING it. A government spokesman said: "At the moment, we are not so optimistic that there will be a breakthrough." Shoppers are shunning food grown close to the Fukushima plant, after high levels of radiation were found in milk and spinach. The government say it is not a danger to health, but they have warned locals not to drink the tap water. There may be some good news, according to international watchdog the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the situation at the plant is stabilising, but it still remains highly dangerous. Alive after being buried nine days Freed ... frail Sumi Abe is by helped by rescuers AN 80-year-old woman and her grandson trapped in their collapsed home for nine days after the Japanese tsunami have been found alive. Police described the rescue as "a joy" - but said there were no celebrations as there were too many other victims to find. Video: Miracle Japan rescue 9 days on 80 year old woman and 16-year-old grandson escape rubble after 9 days • News However, with the official death toll at 8,450 and another 12,931 missing, the rescue of frail Sumi Abe and 16-year-old Jin offered a glimmer of hope to fatigued emergency workers. Luckily, the pair had been pinned in their kitchen and could eat food from the fridge. After days of struggling to free himself, Jin got on the roof and shouted to passing policemen "Help, please help". They brought him to safety before carefully removing debris from around Sumi. She was lying on the top of a cupboard and had managed to wrap a blanket around herself. Survivor ... shaken Jin, 16, is strapped into a helicopter harness by rescuers before being flown to hospital Asked if she was hurt, Sumi replied "No" before being taken to hospital by helicopter. But police said she was so weak she had been unable to stand. Jin's father Akira Abe said: "I always believed they were alive." It is not yet known if other members of the family in Ishinomaki, North East Japan, perished in the home which was destroyed by the tsunami following the March 11 quake. Names of the missing are being put on "Walls Of Hope" in evacuation centres along the coast. On one, in Higashimatsushima, were the names of a boy aged six and a girl, three. Sad ... missing kids on Wall Of Hope ‘Corrode’ fears for stricken nuke site OFFICIALS at Japan's worst-hit nuclear reactor were facing a new crisis last night after fears seawater being used to cool the generator is CORRODING it. Workers were evacuated from the Fukushima power plant this morning after smoke was seen billowing from the No3 reactor. Experts last night considered opening a valve to release highly radioactive gas from the reactor in a bid to stop a full meltdown. The alarm was raised after its pressure rose unexpectedly. It is the most volatile at the plant as it contains plutonium. A government spokesman said: "At the moment, we are not so optimistic that there will be a breakthrough." However, engineers did reconnect the power supply to reactor No2 on Friday. They were hoping that when the power is switched on, the cooling systems for it and reactors No1 will work again. Meanwhile, Japanese shoppers have begun shunning food produced in the country's north- east, the site of the plant, because of radiation fears. Radiation has been found in local milk, and spinach, although the government insists it is not at levels to affect health. However, they have warned villagers living near the plant not to drink the tap water. BRITS are flocking to buy iodine tablets after scientists said higher radiation levels will reach the UK. The pills stop the body absorbing radiation. But experts say it will not be at harmful levels here. The British Embassy in Japan is distributing the pills to hundred of Brits there. Robot enters crippled power plant Smart machine ... the Packbot THIS is the remote-controlled robot being used to monitor radiation levels at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The Packbot, from the US, is exploring damaged buildings and taking radiation readings in areas of the stricken reactors still considered too dangerous for humans to enter. The plant, on the north-eastern coast, was devastated by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. About 210,000 people living near the nuclear reactors were evacuated when radiation levels soared. The death toll following the disaster has been raised to 14,603, with a further 13,691 still listed as missing. Our video shows the Packbot, equipped with cameras and sensors, maneuvering through the plant's buildings and opening doors. Shogo Fukuda, of the Tokyo Electric Power Comany which runs the plant, said it had only just begun using one of the two robots, which were supplied by iRobot in Bedford, Massachusetts. It took crews several weeks to learn how to use the complex devices which are equipped with cameras and sensors. Crippled ... Fukushima plant The Packbot has been able to measure radiation inside reactors 1 and 3, but high humidity fogged up the lenses and prevented it from getting a reading in reactor 2. Humans must still do the sophisticated engineering needed to stem the radiation, but the robots are going in first to monitor when it will be safe for people to enter. An earlier version of the PackBot was used in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Robots were also used after the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear disasters. Tokyo’s next Grim ... disaster victims are buried in mass graves TEEMING Tokyo is facing devastation as a new earthquake threat hits Japan. Experts warned last night that the capital — home to 39 million people — is near a spot where massive pressures are set to erupt under the earth's crust. The resulting quake won't be as violent as the 8.9-scale disaster that triggered the tsunami on March 11. Last respects ... family buries a fallen loved one But Tokyo - 200 miles from the epicentre of that quake - is packed with high-rise buildings. British Geological Survey expert Roger Musson said: "Even if you got, let's say, a 7.5, that would be serious." The alert came as serious levels of radioactivity were found in food produced in Japan. Prayers ... rescuers after finding body The government confirmed "abnormal" levels had contaminated spinach, milk and water up to 150 miles from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Tap water in Tokyo was tainted and tests on spinach 62 miles from the plant showed levels of radioactive iodine 27 times above the official limit. Fava beans exported to Taiwan were contaminated - and a Japanese restaurant in capital Taipei offered diners radiation gauges. Environmental physicist Dr Jim Smith, of the University of Portsmouth, said there had been a "very serious release of radioactivity". The earthquake toll yesterday reached 8,805 dead with 13,261 missing. Jin Abe, 16, saved with his 80-year-old gran after nine days trapped in their wrecked home in Ishinomaki, was recovering in hospital. Survivor ... Jin Abe, 16, in hospital yesterday Japan businessman: Where do I start? Wrecked ... businessman surveys damage at his office BUSINESSMAN returns to his quake-wrecked office yesterday in a bid to start again. He cleared out debris and stared in disbelief at the devastation around him in Rikuzentakata, Japan. Meanwhile it was announced yesterday that rockers Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller will headline an April 3 gig in London in aid of quake and tsunami victims. Japan fallout heading for Britain Signing ... David Cameron RADIOACTIVE particles from the shattered Fukushima power station reached Europe yesterday — and are expected to arrive in Britain today. Tiny samples of nuclear fallout were found in the atmosphere by a monitoring station in Reykjavik, Iceland, after an 8,000-mile journey. But experts stressed the levels were NOT harmful, and were between 1,000 and 10,000 times less dangerous than the fallout from Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Iceland's head emergency planner Sigurdur Emil Palsson said: "We were very surprised that it has been found here." PM David Cameron signed a book of condolence at Japan's London Embassy yesterday. He told ambassador Keiichi Hayashi: "We will do all we can to help you recover. The courage and resilience of everyone in Japan has been inspirational." Tokyo tap water 'radioactive' Danger ... radioactive particles in the water could be hazardous to children ARENTS in Tokyo have been warned not to let their babies drink tap water due to high levels of radiation. Radioactive iodine has been found at more than twice the safe level in samples from the city's water supply, and could prove harmful to infants. Consuming radioactive iodine can cause thyroid cancer. British citizens living in Tokyo have been given iodine tablets to help stop their bodies absorbing the radioactive element. Busy ... Tokyo is Japan's biggest city People living near the leaking Fukushima power plant have also been warned not to eat certain vegetables or drink milk produced in the area. Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo's governor, said in a statement: "We advise against using the tap water for drinking and for making infant formula for babies under one year old." Tokyo is Japan's largest city, home to 13million in the city centre and 39million in the greater Tokyo area. Video: Japan’s brave firefighters COURAGEOUS workers battle to cool reactors at Fukushima nuke plant • News The unsettling new development came as nuclear officials struggled to stabilise all six reactor units at the damaged Fukushima plant to the northeast. An army of workers took a major step towards bringing the crisis under control yesterday — by reconnecting power lines to all the reactor units. From this, to this ... Joban Expressway was ripped apart when the quake hit Naka, 80 miles north of Tokyo. But the same road, right, looks as though the 5ft wide, 150-yard crack had never been there - repaired just six days after the devastation More than 1,000 workers, soldiers and firefighters were toiling at the site yesterday — only hours before a "moderately strong" earthquake of 6.0 magnitude struck but caused no damage. The power station could be re-attached to the national electricity grid today, helping water pumps to cool down reactors. Experts said it was a significant move in bringing the overheated complex under control after the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan. Progress had been hit when a store pool of 2,000 tons of uranium rods began to boil and zirconium around old rods threatened to explode. Emergency teams dubbed the "Atomic Samurai" sprayed them with sea water to cool them. Latest figures showed 23,000 people were either dead or missing following the earthquake and tsunami 12 days ago. A total of 14,717 buildings were destroyed on the coastline, but the number of people in shelters has halved to 268,510 as many move in with relatives. Three other earthquakes all around 6.0 magnitude rocked the coast yesterday. No damage was caused. Japan's on the road to recovery Destroyed ... cracks as high as 5ft ran down the middle of the highway A ROAD completely restored just SIX DAYS after being ripped in half by the Japanese earthquake will shock Britons baffled by potholes that never seem to be filled. The main Joban Expressway at Naka, 80 miles north of Tokyo, was left torn apart with a 5ft wide crack down the middle for more than 150 yards after the quake 13 days ago. Restored ... deep chasms were repaired in just six days Now it looks like the disaster never happened. Flooded ... tsunami washed through the airport sweeping away cars and small aircraft And at Sendai, planes were landing again at the airport on cleared runways that were shown being devastated by the massive tsunami, which swept away cars and small aircraft. Open ... the airport is functioning again after tons of debris was cleared away Many workers returned to their jobs the day after the quake and some businessess in the most devastated regions have already reopened. Nuke workers rushed to hospital Poisoned ... three workers have been exposed to high levels of radiation at the Fukushima nuclear plant TWO of the Fukushima 50 were rushed to hospital with radiation poisoning after standing in a contaminated puddle. The pair were laying electrical cables at the plant when they were exposed to radioactive elements on their feet. Another worker was also exposed to high radiation at the stricken reactor No3 as they sought to restore power knocked out during the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The men, among 180 risking their lives at the plant, are known as the Fukushima 50 because that is the maximum number working during any one shift. Video: New aerial video of tsunami FILM of nuclear plant just after being hit and moment waves smashed coast • News A spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said: "Three workers who were working to lay cables in the basement of the turbine building were exposed to radiation between 170 to 180 millisieverts. "Two were sent to hospital after they found themselves in a puddle of water. Although they wore protective clothing, the contaminated water seeped in and their legs were exposed to radiation." Officials today said radiation levels in Tokyo's water supply had fallen. Yesterday it was reported radioactive iodine in the capital's tap water measured more than twice the level considered safe for babies. Disaster zone (in Waddington, Lincolnshire) Top dogs ... Holly and fellow rescue pups Rooney and Maisy Paul Tonge IT is a scene of utter devastation. Smashed cars rest on the rubble of a collapsed building, a brick chimney pokes from beneath dusty debris and a burnt-out bus lies abandoned. If this were the aftermath of a major earthquake, the number of fatalities would be shocking. In fact, it is a carefully designed catastrophe reconstruction in the middle of a Lincolnshire field. The site, at Waddington, is used to train specialist rescue dogs and their handlers, who help to save hundreds of lives in devastated disaster zones. An area which would take hours for humans to scour can be done in minutes by one of these specially-trained animals. But the role and importance of these daring dogs is often overlooked. Firefighter Neil Woodmansey, 44, has worked in disaster-struck countries with his trusty sniffer dog, Holly. Neil and his eight-year-old black labrador searched for survivors in the aftermath of earthquakes in Pakistan in 2005 and Haiti last year. Earlier this year Neil was awarded the MBE for his rescue services. But he admits it is Holly who deserves the real credit. He said: "When I met the Queen at Buckingham Palace I told her that Holly should be there in my place. "Holly is an amazing dog. Each time she goes overseas she has to spend six months in quarantine back in the UK so she doesn't pass on any diseases such as rabies. After Pakistan and Haiti, that's a total of one year cooped up. "Holly has been rescuing for six years and is covered in all sorts of scars. In Pakistan she was attacked by a nest of hornets. "But that's the kind of dedication you get from these dogs." Both Neil and Holly train for their rescue missions at Waddington. It was set up by the county's Fire And Rescue service after the 9/11 attacks in London to improve responses to such events. Mutt be on to something ... Neil and rescue dog Holly in training Since then specialist courses have helped train emergency services and equipped British rescue workers to help out all over the world, most recently in Japan following last month's horrific tsunami and earthquake. The team create mock disaster scenes at the centre, which was built on a shoestring using donated rubble, old vehicles and other structures. Neil helps to run the centre, the only one of its kind in Europe. He said: "When you sign as a volunteer for foreign deployments you expect one trip every four or five years. Hot dog ... clever Rooney sniffs out a 'survivor' "That has changed in recent years with major earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan in a relatively short space of time. The need for somewhere like Waddington is massive." The skills learned at the site are invaluable for rescue workers - both human and dog. To demonstrate Holly's abilities, Neil gets a pal to hide under a large slab of concrete in the Lincolnshire "earthquake". After Neil has waved her on with a "Go!" she flies over the debris, her tail wagging furiously. After a brief sniff around, Holly arrives at the spot where the volunteer is lying and barks several times before running back to Neil. He immediately gives her a pink squeaky toy. Man's best friend ... rescue workers Neil Woodmansey, Shaun Yates, Dave Phillips and Steve Hogg with their dogs Neil said: "Dogs are trained to distinguish the smell of a corpse from that of a living person. "If someone is alive they bark like mad. It's very fulfilling to know you have helped save a life. "Our dogs benefit immensely from things like the staged earthquake. We have a network of tunnels under the rubble, where volunteers can hide up to 20ft beneath the surface. "Holly's motivation is the chance to play. When you get the dogs as pups you have to make them mad about a certain toy. They soon learn they've got to bark to be rewarded with it. After lots of further training they only bark if they smell a living human being. "It makes searching disaster zones so much easier. "Finding the right dog is a massive challenge. We've trained dogs for two or three years only for them to fail and be pulled out." With Holly's retirement drawing nearer, Neil is already working on her replacement - a two- year-old black labrador called Maisy. And today The Sun launches an appeal asking readers to donate cash so even more search and rescue dogs can be trained. Neil said: "It takes many hours of dedication to produce a dog of Holly's standard. The training isn't cheap so any additional funds would be welcome. "To illustrate its intensity, I'd say I spend more time with Holly than I do with my wife. "Although maybe that's just the secret of a happy marriage!" Atomic Samurai In harm's way ... engineers check cables at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant THE heroes dubbed the Atomic Samurai defy radiation in the first dramatic picture of them battling to halt Japan's nuke meltdown. Clambering in protective white suits they selflessly toil away fixing cables to restore power to the quake-shattered Fukushima plant. Yesterday the toll of comrades rushed to hospital with perilous levels of radiation rose to 14 - after two stepped in a PUDDLE. Knee-deep contaminated water sloshed down into their boots. Medics in anti-radiation gear fought to treat their scorched legs. Hope ... (left) a brave 'Samurai' check dials, while (right) an ambulance is reminder of the constant danger Last night the heroism of the 300 "Samurai" - including firemen training hoses on overheating reactors - looked to be paying off two weeks after up to 27,000 perished in the nation's quake and tsunami hell. Radiation around the four stricken reactors was falling - and electricity was reactivated to a second control room. Deadly risk ... (left) workers in reactor control room and (right) No1 reactor's HQ is successfully powered up With power already restored to reactor No3, hopes grew kaput cooling systems will soon be online again. A jubilant official confirmed: "The light went on in the control room of No1 reactor at 11.30am." Supergig to aid tsunami victims Devastation ... Japan THE biggest names in music will be sharing the same stage to raise money for victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Record labels Sony and Universal are holding talks with concert promoters Live Nation about putting on a star-studded gig in London next month. Wembley Arena is the likely venue and the entire concert will be screened live on BBC here and NBC in the States. The supergig is bound to pull in some huge names who'll be keen to help the cause. A source said: "The supergig will be the biggest concert in years and a huge global spectacle. "No names have been confirmed yet but the organisers are expecting a massive response from acts of all eras. "They're hoping the TV audience numbers will break records." Radioactive water leaks from plant Battered ...the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant RADIOACTIVE water is seeping from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The leak — the first to ooze out of the building — is dangerous enough to cause INTERNAL BLEEDING and even DEATH, according to US officials. The water is in a trench underneath the plant — but scientists said they could not stop the contaminated liquid leaking into the ground. The leak comes as dramatic new footage was released of the tsunami sweeping through Kesennuma, around 300 miles north-east of Tokyo. Filmed from the top of a building, the terrifying footage shows the huge wave crashing through buildings and washing away cars, as a tsunami siren sounds. Video: New footage of tsunami terror DRAMATIC film of Kesennuma port being engulfed by raging waves • News More than two weeks after the wall of water devastated Japan, Greenpeace said they had found high levels of radioactivity OUTSIDE the 12-mile exclusion zone set up around the Fukushima plant to protect locals. They warned people in Iitate village — 25 miles away — to flee after they discovered they were being exposed to a yearly dose of radiation in the space of a few days. A Greenpeace spokesman said: "It is clearly not safe for people to remain in Iitate, especially children and pregnant women, when it could mean receiving the maximum allowed annual dose of radiation in only a few days," They accused the Government of ignoring the danger, adding: "The authorities must stop choosing politics over science." Queues ... locals wait for bottled water and food at evacuation centre AP Meanwhile, traces of radiation have turned up in tap water in capital Tokyo and as far away as ICELAND. Engineers at the six-reactor plant have been struggling with a series of fires and explosions since the earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11. Last week, two workers at Fukushima were injured with radiation burns to their legs after water seeped over their shoes. On Sunday, radiation levels peaked to 100,000 times above normal in reactor No2 as fuel rods "melted". According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano the radiation was contained in the building, but massive radiation levels were found in the water used in tunnels to carry water outside of the reactor. Plant owners Tokyo Electric Power Co, (TEPCO) said they had found more than 1,000 milisieverts in the water — enough to cause haemorrhaging, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Four hours exposure to those levels can kill an adult within two months. Locals aren't taking chances, instead waiting for bottled water and shipped-in meals being handed out at evacuation sites near the plant. One option to stop the leaks may be to encase the site in concrete and sand — which was used after the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986. Japan radiation found in UK Meltdown ... the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant RADIOACTIVE fallout from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has been found in the UK. Two British laboratories picked up traces of radioactive iodine today — nearly 6,000 MILES from the damaged plant, which has been in meltdown since the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said iodine has now been discovered at labs in Oxfordshire and Glasgow. Dr Michael Clark said: "Very low levels of radioactivity, traceable to Fukushima, have been detected at monitoring stations in the UK including Chilton, in Oxfordshire, and Glasgow, in Scotland. Chilton, Oxfordshire ... Radioactive particles from Japan were found more than 5,000 miles away "These traces have been found in Europe - Switzerland, Germany and Iceland - and in the USA. "They're trace levels but of course with radioactivity we can measure very low amounts." The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) also confirmed the find, but stressed it wasn't a danger to the public. Dr James Gemmill, Sepa's radioactive substances manager, said: "The concentration of iodine detected is extremely low and is not of concern for the public or the environment. "The fact that such a low concentration of this radionuclide was detected demonstrates how effective the surveillance programme for radioactive substances is in the UK." There was more bad news from the Fukushima plant today, as scientists confirmed they had found Plutonium in nearby soil. But Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) insisted the amounts of the cancer- causing chemical element were not a danger to the public. NISA's deputy director-general Hidehiko Nishiyama said: "It was the same level as normally found in the atmosphere as radioactive fallout after an atmospheric nuclear test, but a test done far away that would not directly affect someone." Devastation ... local looks out over the Mizuhama district destroyed by the Japanese tsunami The Plutonium is thought to have come from some of the plant's fuel rods found in each of the troubled reactors. Last week the plant's owners admitted that some of the rods had begun to melt after cooling systems were knocked out by the giant wave. Nuclear plants use Plutonium-239, which has a chemical half-life of 24,000 years, meaning anything leaked from Fukushima today will still affect the area for thousands of years to come. Workers at the plant, known as the Fukushima 50, are still battling to save the crippled site and avert a nuclear diaster. Last week, two were taken to hospital after being exposed to high levels of radiation. Locals living within 18 miles of the plant have been advised to leave the area entirely, or stay indoors as radiation continues to climb. Meanwhile, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan told his parliament that the country was grappling with its worst problems since the Second World War. Mr Kan said: "This quake, tsunami and the nuclear accident are the biggest crises for Japan in decades." He warned the nuclear disaster remained unpredictable, but added: "From now on, we will continue to handle it in a state of maximum alert." This morning, another 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck just 100 miles east of the Fukushima plant, and experts are warning more quakes may follow. Nuke Brit stays..to look after his dog A BRIT is defying Japan's nuke terror - to stay put with his POODLE. Martin Dean, 36, and wife Akiko have spurned offers to be evacuated to the UK with their three-month daughter Juno. He won't leave pet poodle Chibi behind - and Japanese Akiko, 31, refuses to be separated from her parents. The family's home is just 28 miles from the quake-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant - although they are now at an evacuation centre. Pet ... poodle Chibi The dog is not allowed in so remains in the car. English teacher Martin, from Brighton, joins the pet at night despite freezing temperatures. He insisted yesterday as his family and in-laws battle grim conditions at the evacuation centre just 100 miles from the plant: "We have been tested for radiation and are fine. "But we have two cars full of fuel ready to leave straight away if the situation at Fukushima gets any worse." Martin's mum Ruth, 63, said in Brighton: "He is very brave." Last night one of the plant's reactors leaked water which turned to radioactive sludge. Workers battled to pump it clear as readings showed it was four times "danger" levels. Today 100 tons of bottled water for victims of the disaster was due to arrive from the UK. Japan to scrap four reactors Scrapped ... aerial view of stricken reactors at Fukushima nuclear plant JAPAN is to decommission four wrecked reactors at the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring reactors No 1-4 under control. Harmful levels of radiation have been detected in the area close to the plant — crippled by the deadly earthquake and tsunami on March 11. More than 11, 000 people were killed in the disaster and thousands are still unaccounted for. Closed ... Fukushima nuclear plant's owners announce four reactors will be decommissioned Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said nuclear experts were still considering plans to cover the buildings with a special material to stop the radiation spreading. Tepco's president Masataka Shimizu was admitted to hospital suffering from high blood pressure just hours before it was revealed that it would be inevitable that the stricken reactors would be scrapped. Japanese experts have also revealed they have detected the highest radiation levels found yet in seawater off the coast of Fukushima. Scotland’s on radiation alert SCOTLAND was last night on radiation alert after fallout from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was detected in Glasgow. Traces of iodine-131 were found in air in the city. The Health Protection Agency said there was NO public risk. But the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency increased checks for the substance. It was released by a partial meltdown at the Fukushima power station in Japan. Radiation began escaping after the plant was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Iodine-131 has also been found in Oxfordshire. The findings triggered a row over the danger to the public - but experts insisted the levels were harmless. Last night UK Health Protection Agency spokesman Dr Michael Clark said: "Levels may rise in the coming days and weeks but will still be significantly below any level that could cause harm." Prof Richard Wakeford, of the Society for Radiological Protection, said the risk to health was "incredibly low". But Dr John Large, who oversaw the salvage of Russian nuclear sub Kursk in 2000, added: "It's up to the public to decide if it's acceptable." Dr Richard Dixon, of WWF Scotland, said the findings were "a reminder of the folly of nuclear power". The iodine-131 levels were 450,000 times lower than those in mainland Europe after 1986's Chernobyl disaster.Japan has vowed to overhaul nuclear safety standards. • AN earthquake measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale hit Abriachan, near the northern end of Loch Ness, yesterday Hug of hope for Japan quake kids EMOTIONAL pupils hug each other as they bravely return to school yesterday for the first time since Japan's earthquake and tsunami. Just 34 of 108 kids survived the disaster that wiped out their classrooms at Okama elementary school - 220 miles north of Tokyo. Left behind ... kids' satchels Parents returned to the scene of carnage to collect their kids' belongings from a line of school bags retrieved from the muddy site. The pupils will now study in temporary buildings in nearby Ishinomaki - where they were greeted with messages of hope. Windows bore the words: "Let's overcome". Glueless Desperate ... engineers hope resin will glue radioactive particles to ground, while tents could cover damaged reactors WORKERS at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will today coat the ground with sticky RESIN in a desperate bid to cap the radiation fallout. Engineers were also considering covering the reactors with giant fabric tents to reduce the menace. It came as Masataka Shimizu, 66 - boss of plant operators Tokyo Electric - was rushed to hospital suffering dizziness as concern over the crisis deepened. The plant has leaked radioactive material since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Aid ... victim is carried by rescue workers Video: Japan nuke woes grow CALLS to expand evacuation zone around stricken nuclear plant Radioactive iodine-131 and plutonium are escaping and it is hoped the resin - usually used to reduce dust on roads - will stop them getting into the air. A Japanese nuclear safety spokesman said: "The aim is to glue them to the ground. We're unsure of how much effect it will have." Ruin ... students cycle through Yamamoto The tents would have air filters installed to try to limit fallout. A second safety boss said: "We need to think about strategies beyond what we normally think about." It emerged yesterday that 11 people were hurt when the plant suffered its second hydrogen blast on March 14. Execs only told PM Naoto Kan an hour later, and he rang next day demanding: "What the hell is going on?" The death toll is at 11,257 but is set to exceed 18,000. Meanwhile, levels of iodine-131 in the UK remained at a harmless 300 micro-becquerels - 27 times higher than usual. • THE Government is "very concerned" for the safety of the few Brits yet to be traced in Japan, MPs were told yesterday. Satanic cult boss convinced me he could make tsunamis happen HOLDING her daughter tightly, Gemma Marling whispers "I love you" to three- year-old Emily. It is something she tells the little girl several times each day. For Gemma, 21, knows from bitter experience how important a mother's unconditional love and support is. Earlier this month she gave evidence in court which resulted in her own mother, 42-year-old Jacqueline Marling, being jailed for 12 years for a series of sickening sex attacks on her own daughter and other children. Gemma's evidence also helped to jail Jacqueline's depraved lover, Colin Batley - a Satanic cult leader. And one day she will have to break the horrifying news to Emily that Batley is her father. Gemma said: "Now the trial is over the reality has hit me. I know I'm never going to have a mum. Despicable ... rapist Colin Batley "People take their parents for granted but I'd do anything to have a mum and dad." Gemma's ordeal started at the age of eight when Jacqueline moved the family from their home in east London to Kidwelly, a town in Carmarthenshire, west Wales. They settled into a nondescript semi in Clos Yr Onnen - Welsh for Ash Tree Close - but behind the house's bland exterior was a Satanic nightmare orchestrated by depraved Colin Batley, who lived next door. Gemma said: "My mum knew Colin in London but I didn't meet him until we moved to Wales. One night I was in bed and my mum got me up and took me downstairs. "Colin was sitting in the living room. There was a candle flickering and I couldn't see him properly. It was like a horror movie." Jacqueline then performed a sex act on Batley in front of her terrified daughter. Gemma recalls: "Colin said to me, 'One day you'll start your periods and I'll have you.' "After that I was terrified, but Colin didn't touch me again for three years, although he was constantly in and out of our house. My mum did what he said and so did we - you follow what your mum does. She's meant to look after you." Batley was an ardent disciple of occult and Satanist writer Aleister Crowley, and styled himself a cult "lord". He built up a harem of adoring female followers who lived in the close. They included his bisexual wife Elaine, who was jailed for eight years for her part in the abuse, Jacqueline, and prostitute Shelly Millar, who was sentenced to five years. All were tattooed with the symbol of Egyptian god Horus and followed Batley's warped theories promoting rape and promiscuity. When Gemma was 11 Batley initiated her into the cult. She said: "Colin raped me for the first time. It was a sunny summer day and I'd come inside to escape the heat when he forced himself on me. Jailed ... mum Jacqueline "He then visited every night for the next eight weeks, as he was decorating our house. "He said the sex was a test. If I passed, I'd go to the palace where he lived. "I feel a mug now for believing it but what else would I know? "If I didn't do it I was told I'd go to hell, where I'd suffer a lifetime of pain with no sleep or respite. "I was too scared to tell anyone what was going on. I didn't know it was happening to anyone else. I thought I was on my own." When Gemma turned 14 her mother began to join in the sex abuse, and when she was 16 Jacqueline even filmed her having sex with a boy of 15. Batley ruled the cult with his encyclopaedic knowledge of The Book Of The Law, a text written by his hero Crowley, and used twisted logic to keep control. Jailed ... follower Shelly Gemma recalled: "Colin said he made the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 happen. He said he'd done it because we had broken so many rules and the gods were angry. "On the day he was sentenced, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan happened, and I instantly thought Colin had done it. I know now that's not possible but he was very good at placing things and convincing you that you'd caused a disaster. I was totally brainwashed." At 17 Gemma became pregnant with Batley's baby. She said: "When I found out it was the first time I'd cried in six years. I didn't want a baby - I couldn't bring a child into that kind of hell." But the cult leader forced her to keep the child, saying the baby belonged to the gods. Gemma explained: "I said I wanted an abortion but I was called a murderer. When I was pregnant I attempted suicide twice. Jailed ... Batley's wife Elaine "I cut myself and took an overdose. I just didn't want to be there. Colin found out and said the gods had saved me." Gemma was 18 when she gave birth in February 2008. She recalled: "After I had Emily I felt like I had something worth living for. She gave me my life back." But when Emily was three months old Batley forced Gemma to work as a prostitute in a Bristol brothel for four days a week. At this point she could take no more. She and another cult member who also wanted to leave contacted relatives on Facebook using the internet in a public library. Gemma said: "I made sure I had my passport and our birth certificates, and we were picked up at 2.30am on May 22, 2009. I left with a baby and a suitcase full of nappies and clothes, and I haven't been back or contacted them since. I hadn't seen or spoken to them until I saw them in court." Evil eye ... satanic cult's Egyptian tattoo After escaping, Gemma traced relatives in Essex, who she has now moved in with. With their support she reported Batley to the police and the cult members were arrested. Gemma gave her evidence to the court via videolink, and earlier this month 48-year-old Batley was jailed for life with a minimum of 11 years at Swansea Crown Court on 11 charges of rape, six serious sexual assaults, three indecent assaults and causing a child to have sex. Judge Paul Thomas said Batley had created a "sick little kingdom" and was a "danger to children". Gemma's mother Jacqueline was convicted of aiding and abetting rape, causing prostitution, indecency with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Gemma said: "The last time I saw her was at the sentencing. "She snarled, 'What are you doing here?' and I broke down. As I'm a mum myself it makes what she did seem even more awful. "Now my focus is on Emily, I want to give her everything I didn't have and I want her to be happy." Sea monster sparks tsunami panic Monster ... the 12ft yellow ribbonfish THIS deep sea monster sent people running for their lives when it was reeled in on a Taiwanese beach. The 12ft yellow ribbonfish reportedly sparked tsunami panic because of its size. The species is normally found only in deep waters, but was hooked on a line off the coast of Miaoli, in north west Taiwan. Fisherman Xie Lu said: "People started packing up to leave. They thought some kind of terrible earthquake was coming and they began to flee." Experts believe the fish may have been forced out of its natural habitat by the aftershocks following Japan's devastating earthquake. One marine official said: "The original undersea earthquake did enormous damage and drove many species out of their natural habitat." Japan given tsunami all-clear Shaken ... office workers cling to desks as fresh quake hits JAPAN got a last minute reprieve from further tragedy today as warnings of a 6ft high tsunami were lifted. Officials had issued the alert after a 7.4 magnitude aftershock struck off the north-eastern coast, 40 miles from already ravaged Sendai. The strong quake was felt as far away as Tokyo — 205 miles from the epicentre. Buildings rattled and people dived for safety as the shaking started shortly after 11:30pm local time (3.30pm GMT). Video: New Japan earthquake TSUNAMI all-clear after 7.4 magnitude quake off north-east coast Japanese officials issued the wave warning for a 300-mile long stretch of the eastern coast. But it was later lifted. It comes less than a month after the region was torn apart by the 9.0 magnitude quake and 33ft tsunami, in which tens of thousands were killed or remain missing. Devastated ... city of Sendai was flattened in last month's disaster There were concerns over how the quake would affect the beleaguered Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. Owners Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) confirmed they had briefly evacuated workers from the site, but that the reactors had not been damaged. Japanese debris swept to the US Danger ... home floats on ocean AN "island" of debris from tsunami-hit Japan containing homes, ships, cars and BODIES is heading for the US. The floating mass in the Pacific is 69 miles long and covers 2.2million square feet, experts said yesterday. Capsized ships and boats are expected to reach the West Coast first in about a year. The 200,000 homes and buildings swept out to sea following the devastating 9.0 magnitude quake on March 11 - and the bodies - will come ashore later. But salvage hunters have been warned not to touch a thing amid fears some items may be slightly radioactive after the breach at the Fukushima power plant. A spokesman for the US Navy's 7th Fleet said: "It is very large and it's a maritime hazard." US oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer said: "If you put a major city through a trash grinder and sprinkle it on the water, that's what you're dealing with."
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