Mega 8.9 Earthquake Kills Hundreds in Japan

Friday, March 11, 2011


A mega 8.9-magnitude earthquake — the world’s fifth-largest since 1900 and the biggest in Japan in 140 years, struck Japan 2:46 p.m. local time, shaking buildings violently in Tokyo for several minutes and sending millions fleeing for higher ground.

More than 300 are reported dead in the northeastern city of Sendai in northeastern Japan.

Nearby islands are bracing for the tsunami and warnings have been issued for 53 countries including ones as far as Colombia, Peru, and the United States.

The Kyodo News service reported police finding up to 300 bodies in Sendai, a city of 1 million in northeastern Japan believed to have been hit hardest by the tsunami. Waves 20 feet high, then another 33 feet high washed over the city causing a hotel to collapseĀ  and large container ships in port were seen lying on their sides.

Kyodo News reported that a ship carrying 100 people had been carried away by the tsunami and East Japan Railway reports 14 bullet trains were between stations with passengers still aboard, after the quake triggered emergency safety systems. The whereabouts of at least one train near the coast in Miyagi prefecture was unknown late Friday.

Passengers at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport — 81 miles to the south were told to evacuate buildings and head for the tarmac. 1,100 people were stranded and awaiting help in Sendai’s airport terminal. The airport had no power. The runway and roads surrounding the airport were submerged under a layer of muddy water.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the islands are under a tsunami warning.

Here in the California, beaches are closed from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara and Redondo Beach. Southland residents are being told to stay away from the ocean until the anticipated tsunami wave hits and the energy dissipates.

This video captures a skyscraper swaying back-and-forth is evidence of the enormous power of the 8.9 earthquake.

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19 Responses to Mega 8.9 Earthquake Kills Hundreds in Japan

  1. Estacada says:

    Oregon is under a tsunami warning too.

    If the waves reach 8 to 12 feet, many coastal towns will be under water.

  2. Brigadoon says:

    Scientists (those men and women the radical right hate) have said for some time now that nations along the ‘Ring of Fire’ were due for a large quake of epic proportions and it looks like they were correct. My heart goes out to the people of Japan. This is a terrible national disaster.

  3. Peace Nick says:

    The BBC reported today that the cooling system for one of Japan’s largest nuclear plants failed. There are no reports of immediate damage to the nuclear plant which is 18 miles from the earthquake epicenter.

    This is serious. If the plant’s core is unstable or damaged, the cooling system is designed to prevent a Chernobyl-style disaster.

  4. Walk on Socks says:

    Major OMG!

    The image of the skyscraper moving is truly terrifying. I can’t image what is was like to be in the building as it moved from side to side.

    I’ve been in many earthquakes but this one in Japan lasted several minutes and is far worse than any quake I lived to tell about.

  5. The phones are down in Japan but, the internet is functional.

    Jim has a friend in Tokyo — a language teacher and we’re hoping he’s OK and didn’t get hurt. This is a catastrophe on an epic scale.

  6. Joe in Colorado says:

    All US outbound flights to Tokyo from the San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle have been cancelled by Japan Airlines, United, ANA, American, and Northwest, until further notice. Evidently, it is impossible to reach Japan from the US by air. This is especially serious for aide workers. Is Narita damaged too?

  7. Matteo says:

    Check this out.

    Residents near nuclear reactor advised to evacuate
    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/11_59.html

    The government has issued an evacuation advisory to people living within a three-kilometer radius of a nuclear power plant in quake-stricken Fukushima Prefecture.

    Government officials said on Friday that no radioactive materials have leaked from the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Number One plant. The government also says the advisory is only a precaution, and is also asking people living within 10 kilometers of the plant to stay indoors.

    The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says cooling system failure has made it impossible to cool the second reactor after it automatically stopped operating after the earthquake.

  8. Matteo,

    It’s always been ironic to me that so many nations who use nuclear plants to generate electricity also happen to be along the Ring of Fire, putting them at risk should the cooling system fail after a major earthquake.

  9. VicoDANIEL says:

    The YouTube video of the skyscraper moving to sobering.

    I have friends in the Bay Area and one of them used to work in the Bank of America building on California Street in San Francisco. He was on the 28th floor — about mid-building when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake hit.

    He said the tower shock violently and the elevators failed. Everyone walked down the stairs to the ground level. He was really freaked out from the experience.

    vicodaniel1987@yahoo.com

  10. Aunt Peg says:

    Earthquakes are the natural disaster I fear most. At least with a hurricane or tornado there is some warning to take cover.

    Not so with an earthquake.

  11. Jolly Roger says:

    And, you know, after the Rushpubliscums get done gutting regulatory and emergency management funding, when we get a quake of this size (and we will,) there will be rivers of blood, and destruction on a scale that will make what just happened in Japan look like a child’s game.

    All so a few dozen billionaires didn’t have to give anything back.

  12. DMason says:

    It’s said no country in on the planet is better prepared to withstand earthquakes than is Japan. But, 1,200 people are dead and 88,000 are missing and this is day one. These natural disasters are a reminder of how precious and how short, life is.

  13. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    This is bad. Really bad.

    400 passengers are presumed drowned after a high-speed bullet train and cruise ship went missing following the devastating Japanese earthquake earlier today.

    The 8.9 earthquake – 8,000 times stronger than the one that struck New Zealand last month, according to the Richter scale, sent a catastrophic 33 foot tsunami across the Pacific Ocean and came ashore in Hawaii, Oregon and Northern California.

    Japanese officials four nuclear energy reactors could melt down because the cooling systems are non-operational.

  14. fran says:

    To their credit Japan is said to be one of the most prepared for Earthquakes…. and those swaying skyscrapers are swaying & not collapsing & tokyo is quite a way from the epicenter. They have an early warning siren system as well.
    Had they not done all they have, things would be in much worse shape & the death toll much higher. Each number on the richter scale is 10x more powerful, so an 8.9 is huge.
    But the oldest nuclear power plant is in jeopardy of a meltdown.
    The biggest risk was not addressed. Radiation within the plant is 1000 timea above normal level.

    My heart goes out to the people dealing with the aftermath.

    But seriously, can we retire the notion that Nuclear Power is safe & clean?

  15. Adirondacky says:

    I hope the Japanese nuclear agency fixes the two nuclear power plants and the leaking radiation doesn’t enter the jetstream. Otherwise, we could be looking at an Asian Chernobyl. The US is only 6,000 miles from Japan.

  16. Jolly Roger says:

    The situation at the nuke plant looks BAD. The “assurances” that the authorities have the situation well in hand are straight out of Chernobyl.

  17. feminazi says:

    I’ve never been in an earthquake and I hope to never be in one. Just the thought is frightening to me. I like the earth under my feet to be solid and reliable. This morning they news report said two commuter trains were missing and presumed washed away in the tsunami. So tragic.

  18. libhomo says:

    I hope this teaches people to stop building nuclear power plants near earthquake faults….or better yet to get rid of them altogether.

  19. Estacada says:

    Leaking nuclear energy plants are the stuff of horror movies.

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