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Japan toll tops 24,000 dead or missing

23 march 2011, 12:26
The number of people confirmed dead or listed as missing in Japan surpassed 24,000 on Wednesday, 12 days after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's northeast coast, AFP reports.

There are fears of a much higher toll from the disaster, which flattened entire towns along the Pacific coast of northern Honshu island.

The National Police Agency said 9,408 people had been confirmed dead and 14,716 officially listed as missing -- a total of 24,124 -- as of noon (0300 GMT) Wednesday as a result of the March 11 catastrophe.

A total of 2,746 people have been 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 evacuation facilities.

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