Friday, March 11, 2011

8.9 earthquake hits Japan

A massive 8.9 earthquake has struck Japan resulting in a tsunami of more than 10 metres which swept across the coastal town of Sendai. Several aftershocks have occurred and strong tremors have been felt in the capital Tokyo. Worst affected is the coastal area near the town of Sendai, Japan. Pictures broadcast by NHK showed a huge wave sweeping through the area causing widespread destruction in its wake. The airport was engulfed by the water and many people fled to the rooftops to escape. An oil refinery in Chiba prefecture was also struck by the surge of water ripping through a pipeline and starting a massive fire.

In Tokyo there were reports of some damage after tremors lasting several minutes. The transport system has been shut down, including Narita airport, and there are widespread power outages affecting some 4 million homes in Tokyo, and the surrounding area Kyodo. Five nuclear plants have been shut down as a precaution though there are no reports of damage.

The earthquake struck at 14:46:23 local time [05:46:23 UTC] at a depth of 24 km. There were no immediate reports of fatalities or casualties, but the numbers are likely to be high given the massive damage caused by the tsunami. Meanwhile a tsunami alert has been issued concerning Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, the Mariana Islands and as far away as Australia.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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