Disaster in Japan: Latest developments, March 20

A woman on a stretcher gets carried into the Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital in Ishinomaki, northern Japan, Sunday, March 20, 2011, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The 80-year-old woman and her teenage grandson were rescued Sunday in northeastern Japan when the youth was able to pull himself out of their flattened two-story house nine days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Masanori Yamashita) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT AP Photo

An 80-year-old woman who was rescued nine days after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan is carried into a Red Cross hospital in Ishinomaki, northern Japan, March 20, 2011. The woman and her teenage grandson were rescued after the youth was able to pull himself out of their flattened two-story house and call out for help. Both are conscious but weak, having survived on the food they had in their refrigerator.
AP Photo

last updated 12:15 a.m. ET

  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that American donors have raised over $105 million for the Japan quake relief effort thus far. The Chronicle's report states: "The rate of donations is slower than after last year's earthquake in Haiti and after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Seven days after the disaster in Haiti, donors had contributed more than $275 million, and six days after Katrina they had given more than $457 million."
  • The World Bank says the quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis caused up to $235 billion in damage. The cost to private insurers will be up to $33 billion and the government will spend $12 billion on reconstruction in the current national budget and much more later.
  • (AP) Police officials estimate that the death toll will exceed 18,000 deaths. The National Police Agency says that overall the number of bodies collected so far stood at 8,649, while 12,877 people were listed as missing. It is possible those two lists have some overlap, and that unidentified bodies in the tally of deaths may match names on the missing list once their identities are confirmed.
  • Japanese people heartened by the miracle rescue of an 80-year-old woman and her grandson rescued from the rubble 9 days after the Japan earthquake and tsunami
  • "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley reports from the disaster zone in Japan.
  • Working in suits sealed by duct tape, engineers have managed to re-establish power cables to the No. 1, 2, 5 and 6 reactors and plan to start testing systems soon, officials say.
  • At Fukushima, around 300 engineers continued spraying the damaged nuclear plants with sea-water so fuel rods will not overheat and emit radiation.
  • "There have been some positive developments in the last 24 hours but overall the situation remains very serious," said Graham Andrew, a senior official of Vienna-based U.N. watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Japan's Health Ministry spokesman Takayuki Matsuda said Sunday that radioactive iodine three times the normal level was detected in Iitate, a village of about 6,000 people 19 miles northwest of the Dai-ichi nuclear plant. That's still one twenty-sixth of the level of a chest X-ray and poses no danger to humans, he said.
  • A TEPCO statement says the number of homes currently out of electricity is 242,927; that's down from 4,858,580.
  • Official death toll from earthquake and tsunami 8,450 with 12,931 missing. Police say more than 15,000 feared dead in Miyagi prefecture alone.

In this image taken from footage released by the Japan Defense Ministry, a fire engine from the Japan Self-Defense Forces sprays water toward Unit 3 of the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex on Friday, March 18, 2011. In the backgrounds is Unit 4.

(Credit:AP)

Latest update 11:30 a.m. ET

* AP: Tokyo Electric Power Company declared Units 5 and 6 safe Sunday night after days of pumping water into the reactors pool brought temperatures down.

* Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex will have to be closed once its overheating reactors are brought under control.

Bringing the two units under control marks a minor advance in the efforts to stop the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex from leaking radiation. The two units are the least problematic of the six reactor units at the plant, which began overheating after the earthquake-triggered tsunami disrupted the plant's cooling systems.

* An 80-year-old woman and her teenage grandson were rescued on Sunday in northeastern Japan after surviving nine days in the rubble of their home. The youth was able to pull himself out of their flattened two-story house nine days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

* Japan announced that conditions at the Unit 3 reactor of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex have become "relatively stable" after a third day of hosing the plant, Kyodo News reports. After the operation, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters that temperatures at reactors 1 through 4 were lower than initially feared.  

Complete Coverage: Disaster in Japan

* Government officials now say the tap water around Fukushima prefecture contains radioactive iodine within government safety levels. However, milk tested in the town of Kawamata exceeds safety limits for radioactive particles. Kawamata is 28 miles northwest of the nuclear plant.

* Japanese authorities report that radioactive iodine has been detected in tap water in Tokyo and five other prefectures, reports the Associated Press. A government ministry says the trace amounts are within government safety limits but usual tests show no iodine.

* Radiation has been detected in food - including spinach and milk - on farms near the crippled nuclear plant that exceeds government safety limits. Farms as far as 65 miles from Fukushima Dai-ichi reported radioactive contamination.

In this image taken from footage released by the Japan Defense Ministry, Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel talk before starting to spray water toward the Unit 3 of the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, Okumamachi, northeastern Japan, on Friday, March 18, 2011. Military fire trucks sprayed the reactor units Friday for a second day, with tons of water arching over the facility in attempts to prevent the fuel from overheating and emitting dangerous levels of radiation. (AP Photo/Japan Defense Ministry) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

In this image taken from footage released by the Japan Defense Ministry, Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel talk before starting to spray water toward the Unit 3 of the troubled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, Okumamachi, northeastern Japan, on Friday, March 18, 2011.

(Credit: AP)

*Japanese news agency Kyodo pulls report of man rescued after eight days in rubble after learning from his family that he returned home after staying in a shelter.

*Japan's police agency says nearly 7,200 are dead and more than 10,900 are missing after last week's earthquake and tsunami. A week after the disasters devastated the northeast coast, the National Police Agency said Saturday that 7,197 people died and 10,905 were missing.

Firefighter trucks go through a residential area in the tsunami-stricken town of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture Saturday, March 19, 2011, eight days after the town was slammed by a powerful quake-triggered tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

Firefighter trucks go through a residential area in the tsunami-stricken town of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture Saturday, March 19, 2011.

(Credit: AP)

* Shortly after midnight March 19, Tokyo time, hyper rescue troops in coordination with the Tokyo Fire Department began a water discharge at Unit 3. A TEPCO statement said the process went on for 25 minutes.

Tayo Kitamura, 40, kneels in the street to caress and talk to the wrapped body of her mother Kuniko Kitamura, 69, after Japanese firemen discovered the dead woman inside the ruins of her home in Onagawa, northeastern Japan Saturday, March 19, 2011. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the region on March 11. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Tayo Kitamura, 40, kneels in the street to caress and talk to the wrapped body of her mother Kuniko Kitamura, 69, after Japanese firemen discovered the dead woman inside the ruins of her home in Onagawa, northeastern Japan Saturday, March 19, 2011.

(Credit: AP)

* Tokyo Electric Power Co said it had connected an external transmission line with the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, confirming that electricity can once again flow to the stricken facility, according to Reuters. If the plant's cooling system is still operational, this new source of power could allow technicians to get the reactors under control and prevent meltdown.

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