The death toll accruing from Friday’s massive earthquake in the region around Sendai – the epicenter of the disaster – has now surged over 5,000, with the discovery of 2,000 bodies along the coast of the Miyagi Prefecture.

Of that 2,000 figure about half were located on the shores of Minami-Sanrikucho, where the Miyagi Prefectural Government stated that about 10,000 people -- more half the town's population – remain unaccounted for.

Another 1,000 bodies were found on the shore at the Ojika Peninsula in Ishinomaki.

Prefectural government officials warned the death toll will surely keep climbing.

Among the missing are some 2,500 tourists visiting the area, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

Meanwhile, police officers and firefighters are working to recover another 200 to 300 bodies in Sendai.
Thus far, authorities have evacuated almost half a million people from the region around two damaged nuclear power plants. Those evacuees included about 150,000 in Miyagi Prefecture and 130,000 in Fukushima Prefecture.

The government claims that emergency workers have rescued about 15,000 people.

However, the survivors in Miyagi are coping not only with destroyed homes and livelihoods, but also shortages of food, fresh water and fuel. Telephone and internet services are out throughout northeastern Japan.

Nearly 10,000 people remained trapped in hills, buildings and other locations in the Miyagi region, according to local authorities.

The Japanese government is airlifting supplies to the area, in tandem with aid efforts from a wide array of national and foreign entities.