WRAPUP 6-Radiation scare sparks run on bottled water in Tokyo

 * Contamination fears spread in Japan and beyond
 * Disaster damage estimated at $300 billion
 * U.S., Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore restrict food
imports
 * Engineers battle to stabilise Fukushima reactors

 (Adds three workers injured, merchant ships)	
 By Chizu Nomiyama and Kazunori Takada	
 TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Stores in Tokyo were running out
of bottled water on Thursday after radiation from a damaged
nuclear complex briefly made tap water unsafe for babies, while
more nations curbed imports of Japanese food.	
 Engineers are trying to stabilise a six-reactor nuclear
plant in Fukushima, 250 km (150 miles) north of the capital,
nearly two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami battered the
plant and devastated northeastern Japan, leaving nearly 26,000
people dead or missing.	
 Tokyo's 13 million residents were told not to give tap water
to babies under 1 year old after contamination hit twice the
safety level this week. But it dropped back to allowable amounts
on Thursday.	
 Despite government appeals against panic, many supermarkets
and stores sold out of bottled water. 	
 "Customers ask us for water. But there's nothing we can do,"
said Masayoshi Kasahara, a store clerk at a supermarket in a
residential area of eastern Tokyo. "We are asking for more
deliveries but we don't know when the next shipment will come."	
 Radiation above safety levels has also been found in milk
and vegetables from Fukushima, where the stricken nuclear plant
is located on the Pacific coast.	
 Singapore and Australia joined the United States and Hong
Kong in restricting food and milk imports from the zone, while
Canada became the latest of many nations to tighten screening
after the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.	
 A shipping industry official, meanwhile, said some merchant
vessels may be avoiding Tokyo port due to concerns that crew
members may be exposed to radiation. 	
 Radiation particles have been found as far away as Iceland,
although Japan insists levels are not dangerous to adults.	
 The contamination scare after the catastrophe of March 11 is
adding to Japan's most testing time since World War Two.	
 	
  The estimated $300 billion damage from the 9.0 magnitude
earthquake and ensuing tsunami makes it the world's costliest
natural disaster, dwarfing Japan's 1995 Kobe quake and Hurricane
Katrina, which swept through New Orleans in 2005.	
 In Japan's devastated north, more than a quarter of a
million people are in shelters. Some elderly refugees, among an
ageing population, have died from cold and lack of medicines.	
 Exhausted and traumatised rescuers are still sifting through
the mud and wreckage where towns and villages once stood.	
 The official death toll from the disaster has risen to
9,523, but is bound to rise as 16,094 people are still missing.	
 Amid the suffering, though, there was a sense that Japan was
turning the corner in its humanitarian crisis. Aid flowed to
refugees, and phone, electricity, postal and bank services began
returning to the north, sometimes by makeshift means.	
 "Things are getting much better," said 57-year-old Tsutomu
Hirayama, staying with his family at an evacuation centre in
Ofunato. "For the first two or three days, we had only one rice
ball and water for each meal. I thought, how long is this going
to go on? Now we get lots of food, it's almost like luxury."	
 In other cheering news, a baby dolphin was rescued in a rice
field after the tsunami dumped it there. Locals wrapped it in
wet towels before taking it back to the sea.	
 Aftershocks are still coming, though, sending shudders
through many Japanese. Several shook Tokyo on Thursday.	
 ADMIRATION FOR NUCLEAR WORKERS	
 At the Fukushima plant, where the worst nuclear drama since
Chernobyl in 1986 is playing out, technicians have successfully
attached power cables to all six reactors and started a pump at
one to cool overheating fuel rods.	
 Nearly 300 engineers, fast becoming national heroes for
braving danger inside an evacuation zone, are fighting to cool
fuel rods at the plant's reactors.	
 They resumed work on Thursday at the No.3 reactor,
considered the most critical, after a one-day suspension when
black smoke was seen rising.	
 Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is trying
to re-start systems to keep the fuel cool and prevent further
radiation leaks or a complete meltdown, the nightmare scenario.	
 Three TEPCO employees who were working in water to connect a
cable were injured by radiation on Thursday and two were taken
to hospital with burns, the nuclear safety agency said.	
 Japan urged the world not to overreact to the radiation
precautions, and plenty of experts appeared to back that up.	
 Jim Smith, of Britain's University of Portsmouth, said the
finding of 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine, twice the
safety limit, at a Tokyo water purification plant on Wednesday
should not be cause for panic. The safety level for adults is
300 becquerels.	
 "The recommendation that infants are not given tap water is
a sensible precaution. But it should be emphasised that the
limit is set at a