Friday, March 11, 2011

Massive Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Japan; heading for West Coast

This is horrible news. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake - the 7th largest since we started recording these things - hit about 125 miles off the eastern coast of Honshu, Japan's main island. Millions evacuated out of buildings, homes, transit systems, etc. - and that's just in Tokyo, which was over 400 kilometers away. Damage generally unknown, but it was definitely felt.

To make matters worse, what could have been a 10-metre high tsunami wave hit the Japanese east coast, causing huge scenes of devastation as homes in the rural lands along the 2,000-km coast where it hit were just swamped. So far only 60 reported dead, 56 missing, but it's expected to rise.

The tsunami is now heading towards Hawaii and the West Coast, and there's some estimations that in areas like Oregon or Los Angeles could see waves as high as 5 feet flowing ashore. Los Angeles. It's unlikely, but it's entirely possible - no one really will know until Hawaii is hit. The Marshall Islands were just hit awhile back, but no one knows. BC coast is under tsunami warning, expecting something around 50 centimeters. Wave is also heading towards Phillipines and other South Pacific nations, including many of those smaller island nations, such as Micronesia.

This is absolute devastation and I hope that it's limited to only what we've seen. So far, there's a huge fire burning at a Japanese oil refinery, and a nuclear power station's cooling system has shut down. On the bright side of things, however, the Japanese civil defense is prepared for this exact sort of thing - so let's hope they'll be able to get anyone and everyone out that they can.

If you have friends or family anywhere in the region but especially so in Japan, contact Foreign Affairs. Keep an eye on this page as well.

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