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photo Tara Benwell Instructions:
  1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
  2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
  3. Answer the comprehension questions by writing full sentences.
  4. Use the discussion question to write an essay or discuss the story with other students.
  5. Click "show Answers" to see the full text.
  6. Pretend to be a news anchor by reading each story out loud.

Death Toll Climbs after Japan Earthquake

dateline: 15 March 2011

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • death toll: the number of recorded deaths caused by a certain accident, crime, or other unfortunate event
  • trigger: to cause something to happen
  • aftershock: a smaller earthquake (tremor) that happens after an original earthquake
  • radiation leak: the accidental emission of a dangerous form of energy
  • malfunction: to not work properly
  • evacuate: to leave a dangerous area; to find a safe zone

Death Toll Climbs after Japan Earthquake
An intense earthquake triggered a massive , and devastated Japan on March 11th. The official death toll has not been determined, though thousands of bodies have been found in coastal towns and thousands of people are missing. Besides the risk of aftershocks, many in Japan are fearful of nuclear explosions and radiation leaks. Following the tsunami, three nuclear reactors began malfunctioning, and thousands of people were evacuated to safer. Japan’s prime minister called the event “the toughest and most difficult crisis” his country has faced since . Friday’s earthquake, which measured at 8.9 in magnitude, was the strongest to hit Japan in recorded history.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What region of Japan was devastated by the disaster?
  2. What are Japanese people worried about besides the risk of further earthquakes and tsunamis?
  3. What did Japan’s prime minister say about the natural disaster?

Discussion Question: Have you been watching the videos and looking at the pictures from this devastating event? Does it put the problems from your own life “into perspective”?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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