'We need world's help' - Japan evacuees

The mayor of a town near Japan's quake-damaged and stricken Fukushima nuclear plant said today that it desperately needs help for thousands of evacuees sheltered there.

"We have received many people who were evacuated from the area near the plant," Masao Hara, mayor of Koriyama city, about 50km west of the nuclear plant, told AFP by mobile telephone.

"Right now some 9,000 people are at shelters in Koriyama," he told AFP, including 200 at a baseball stadium which was recently renovated to receive disaster evacuees.

"What we urgently need now is fuel, heavy and light oil, water and food. More than anything else, we need fuel because we can't do anything without it. We can't stay warm or work the water pumps.

"We also need to move our vehicles to collect garbage. I really would like to appeal to the world: We need help."

More than 200,000 people have been evacuated from a 20km radius around the power station, which has been rocked by a series of explosions and seen local spikes of radiation at levels damaging to human health.

"People are worried but acting very calmly," said Hara. "They're not in a panic at all. They get more concerned after they watch television and see how anxious the rest of the country is."

The Fukushima plant was damaged in Friday's massive quake and tsunami calamity, which killed thousands and left large parts of northern Japan desperately short of water, food, fuel and other basic necessities.

- AFP

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