Japan quake death toll tops 10,000

The death toll from a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast coast topped 10,000 on Friday, two weeks after the disaster struck, the National Police Agency said.

There are fears of a much higher toll from the disaster, which flattened or erased entire towns along the Pacific coast of the country’s main island of Honshu.

In its report on Friday, the agency — which collects data from the prefectures affected — said that 10,035 had been confirmed dead and 17,443 listed as missing as of 11:00 am (0200 GMT) as a result of the March 11 catastrophe. A total of 2,775 are listed as injured.

The quake has become Japan’s deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which killed more than 142,000 people.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and have taken shelter in emergency facilities.