Japan's disaster toll estimated to rise to over 18,000 deaths

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 21 at 10:00 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's police agency says more than 8,800 people are dead after an earthquake and tsunami. Another 12,600 are missing.

Those tallies are likely to overlap, but police officials estimate that the final figure will likely exceed 18,000 deaths.

A police spokesman from one of the of the hardest-hit prefectures, Miyagi, estimates that the deaths will top 15,000 in that region alone. Police in other devastated areas declined to estimate eventual tolls, but said the confirmed deaths in their areas already number nearly 3,400.

The National Police Agency said the overall number of bodies collected so far stood at 8,805, while 12,654 people have been listed as missing.

As the number confirmed dead rose on Monday, the number of missing declined from over 13,000.

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