At least 2000 bodies have washed up on two shores in Miyagi Prefecture following Friday’s massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

Police have so far confirmed 1,597 deaths and 1,481 people missing across the affected areas in north-eastern and eastern Japan.

About 1000 bodies were found coming ashore on hardest-hit Miyagi’s Ojika Peninsula and another 1000 were spotted in the town of Minamisanriku, where the prefectural government has been unable to contact about 10,000 people – more than half the local population.

Information has been received that many town residents have evacuated to neighbouring Tome city, officials said, adding they are trying to confirm the report.

People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming,”
said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the
three hardest hit.

He said authorities were receiving just 10 per cent of the food and other
supplies they need. Even body bags and coffins are running so short the
government may turn to foreign funeral homes for help, he said.

“We have requested funeral homes across the nation to send us many body bags
and coffins. But we simply don’t have enough,” he said. “We just did not
expect such a thing to happen. It’s just overwhelming.”

The official death toll excludes about 200 to 300 bodies in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi, that have yet to be recovered by police due to the difficulty of reaching them amid the devastation and rubble.

The whereabouts of about 2500 tourists who were visiting the quake-hit areas have not been confirmed, the Japan Tourism Agency said.

The Miyagi government  wil seek help from other prefectures as work to cremate bodies is falling behind.

About 450,000 people had evacuated by Sunday in Miyagi and five other prefectures, but water, food and fuel are in short supply in various locations where they have taken refuge.

The government is airlifting supplies with Self-Defence Force helicopters.