Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake 2011: 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits, 13-Foot Tsunami Triggered

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control. A local news report said at least 15 people were killed.

The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along the 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of the country's eastern shore were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter in the sea off the northeastern coast.

A tsunami warning was issued for the entire Pacific, including areas as far away as South America, the entire U.S. West Coast, Canada and Alaska.

Kyodo news agency said 15 people were killed. The government confirmed only five deaths.

"The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions.

Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water.

Waves of muddy waters swept over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires spread through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.


The tsunami roared over embankments, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

"Our initial assessment indicate that there has already been enormous damage," Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said. "We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment."

He said the Defense Ministry was sending troops to the quake-hit region. A utility aircraft and several helicopters were on the way.

A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and was burning out of control with 100-foot (30 meter) -high flames whipping into the sky.

NHK showed footage of a large ship being swept away and ramming directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, according to NHK.

A tsunami warning was extended to a number of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Latin American nations, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities said they expect a 3-foot (1-meter) high tsunami.

1 comments:

bubblesha said...

Pray for japan :'(

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