TOKYO, Japan, Mar. 14, 2011 -- The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that has brought the east coast of Japan to its knees has caused huge disruption to the country's water supply.
Around 1.4 million households are without running water, but the World Health Organisation said that "there has been some improvement in the provision of electricity and water services". It said that 13 prefectures are without water, compared to 17 yesterday.
The most affected prefectures from water shortages include: Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba, Akita and Aomori.
Meanwhile, the Japan Water Works Association is reported to be gathering information on water supply condition and could release the information through the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare over the next two days, according to Bloomberg.
As part of a national emergency committee, led by the prime minister, over 250,000 bottles of water have been distributed, with beer tankers being used to transport water and 5,000 mobile latrines have also been deployed.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan reportedly said: "This is the toughest crisis in Japan's 65 years of postwar history...whether we Japanese can overcome this crisis depends on each of us."
Only four days after the earthquake and official government figures suggest over 1,600 people have been confirmed dead, with 1,962 injured and 1,720 missing. These figures are expected to rise and various media reports suggest the death count could increase to 10,000.
Water supply in some parts of Tokyo has also stopped, the metropolitan government's Bureau of Waterworks said, according to Bloomberg.