Saturday, March 12, 2011

Concern about food, fuel shortages in wake of Japan disasters

Nicky Washida scoured her central Tokyo neighborhood looking for food Saturday, but was unsuccessful.

The convenience stores had already been stripped of food, batteries and most supplies when she visited in the wake of the previous day's massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake. She was hoping they had been able to restock, she wrote in a CNN iReport.

But on Saturday, the local shopping center was closed. And at the convenience stories, only alcohol-free beer and green tea-flavored candy remained.

"The one supermarket that is still open is so packed I couldn't even get through the doors," said Washida, a British woman who lives in Tokyo with her Japanese husband and their three children, ages 6, 4 and 1. "People in Tokyo seem to be panic-buying under the assumption that food will not be getting through to Tokyo for the next few days."

Stores across the city were mostly sold out of bread Saturday, said iReporter David Powell, who sent in photos of shelves bare but for a few rolls. While some loaves and rolls were available, he said, they were selling fast, as were dairy products. (read more)

Long lines persisted at food stores and at the pump as concern grew in Tokyo that food and fuel shortages may arise in the aftermath of the earthquake, which spawned a tsunami that devastated coastal areas of northeastern Japan.

Gas sales were being limited to 20 liters (5.3 gallons) per car, Powell said.