Japan's most powerful earthquake since records began has struck the north-east coast, triggering a massive tsunami.

Cars, ships and buildings were swept away by a wall of water after the 8.9-magnitude quake, which struck about 400km (250 miles) north-east of Tokyo.

A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant but officials said there were no radiation leaks.

The death toll is unclear, but police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the port city of Sendai.

At least 90 other people are reported to have died, and many more are unaccounted for.

 

Measured at 8.9 by the US Geological Survey, the tremor struck at 1446 local time (0546 GMT) at a depth of about 24km.

The first waves from the tsunami have reached the US mainland at Oregon, and people have been evacuated from coastal areas of that state and in California and Washington.

Some of the biggest waves of between 6-7ft (about 2m) would hit near California's Crescent City, predicted the US National Weather Service.

The waves earlier passed Hawaii, but there were no reports of major damage.

A tsunami warning was extended across the Pacific to North and South America, where many other coastal regions were evacuated, but the alert has since been lifted in most parts, including the Philippines, Australia, China and Indonesia.

At the scene

With train services suspended, there are millions of people on the streets of Tokyo tonight. The official advice is, if you're safe, to stay where you are. But after the shock of the quake many people just want to get home.

Here in Tokyo, even though it wasn't the epicentre, the quake was still felt very powerfully. The ground rolled and rumbled underfoot and you could hear the great skyscrapers creaking and cracking as they swayed.

Walking was like crossing the deck of a ship at sea. People poured down from their offices and stood in the street staring up.

Measured at 8.9 by the US Geological Survey, the tremor struck at 1446 local time (0546 GMT) at a depth of about 24km.

The first waves from the tsunami have reached the US mainland at Oregon, and people have been evacuated from coastal areas of that state and in California and Washington.

Some of the biggest waves of between 6-7ft (about 2m) would hit near California's Crescent City, predicted the US National Weather Service.

The waves earlier passed Hawaii, but there were no reports of major damage.

A tsunami warning was extended across the Pacific to North and South America, where many other coastal regions were evacuated, but the alert has since been lifted in most parts, including the Philippines, Australia, China and Indonesia.

 

'Train missing'

Strong waves hit Japan's Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, officials said, damaging dozens of coastal communities.

Map

Kyodo news agency said a 10-metre wave struck Sendai, which is in Miyagi.

Japan's NHK television showed a massive surge of debris-filled water sweeping away houses, cars and ships and reaching far inland.

Motorists could be seen trying to speed away from the wall of water.

Farmland around Sendai was submerged and the waves pushed cars across the runway of the city's airport. Fires broke out in the city's centre.

In other developments:

  • A passenger train was missing in Miyagi prefecture, and a ship carrying 100 people was swept away, police told Japanese media
  • Fire is engulfing swathes of coastland, including homes and buildings, at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture
  • A major explosion hit a petrochemical plant in Sendai; further south a huge blaze swept through an oil refinery in Ichihara city, Chiba prefecture
  • A dam burst in north-eastern Fukushima prefecture, sweeping away homes, Kyodo news agency reports
  • There were reports of about 20 people injured in Tokyo after the roof of a hall collapsed on to a graduation ceremony

Nearly 3,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from near the Fukushima power plant, where a state of emergency has been declared. The cooling system failed in one of its reactors when it shut down automatically because of the earthquake.

Deadliest earthquakes

27 July 1976, Tangshan, China: est 655,000 killed, 7.5

12 Jan 2010, Haiti: 222,570 killed, 7.0

8 Oct 2005, Pakistan: 80,361 killed, 7.6

31 May 1970 Chimbote, Peru: 70,000 killed, 7.9

Source: USGS

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said no radiation leaks at that power plant or any of the other reactors in the quake-hit zone had been detected.

In a televised address, he extended his sympathy to the victims of the disaster and said an emergency response headquarters had been set up.

The UN's nuclear agency said four nuclear power plants had shut down safely.

In Iwate prefecture, also near the epicentre, an official said it was difficult to gauge the extent of the destruction.

"Roads were badly damaged and cut off as the tsunami washed away debris, cars and many other things," said Hiroshi Sato, a disaster management official in Iwate.

Residents and workers in Tokyo rushed out of apartment buildings and office blocks and gathered in parks and open spaces as aftershocks continued to hit.

Many people in the Japanese capital said they had never felt such a powerful earthquake.

In central Tokyo, Jeffrey Balanag said he was stuck in his office in the Shiodome Sumitomo building because the elevators had stopped working.

"We're almost seasick from the constant rolling of the building," he told the BBC.

Bullet train services to northern Japan were halted and rapid transit in Tokyo was suspended, stranding many workers in the city centre.

About four million homes in and around Tokyo suffered power cuts.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709598

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Comments

  • we're sending as much as we can from here! love, light, healing, comfort, violet flame of transformation...

    dont know if u've seen this   http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fearthquake.usgs.gov%2F...

  • It is meant to be.
  •  We have to se what Salausa and Matthew said about the quake Pleiarcturian..Maybe its HAARP.

     

  • Well, the best way to help out, in my view, is to send thoughts and feelings of healing to the areas affected. While it's admirable that you want to help out financially, I wouldn't trust that your money, if sent to an organization, would actually directly help the Japanese people on the ground. But if you want to help fund an organization that is working on relief effort, there are many to choose from, like the Red Cross, a group called Global Giving, or a group called Convey of Hope. You can find other groups doing relief work on the web, I'm sure.

    Kelly, there is nothing more I'd like than for full disclosure to be made. Unfortunately, until there is an official disclosure by governments around the world, our galactic friends would be wiser to keep themselves hidden, and continue to work quietly, away from view, to help out. Again, while I would love nothing more than to see spacecraft uncloak and fill our skies, without full disclosure of the ET presence first, I'm afraid too many people would take it the wrong way. And I don't see full disclosure coming as of yet, unfortunately.

    Continue your prayers, people. I know people all around the world have Japan in their hearts, and are sending their well wishes to everyone affected, and this is great. Let's continue to blanket Japan with positive and loving waves so they can filter into the hearts of people suffering from this disaster.

  • Okay, now would be a good time for our galactic friends to make themselves seen publicly and help out... as well the Spiritual Hierarchy is due to make themselves seen.  Our Melchizidek brothers and sisters are supposed to make an appearance if I remember right ... and the asian community makes up such a large portion of earth's population; if they would win the hearts and minds of the asians, imagine how they could propel that energy.  It would be a good time for disclosure, if they were positively seen they could force the PTB to show their hand, as it were.  Anything new about the nuclear situation?  I fear trusting my news sources, CNN is such a joke. 
  • What would Jesus, Buddah, or Chrishna do is they were here? Yes, they would say Pray but Faith without works is dead. What would they be telling us right now? With the world asleep at the wheel and materialism their god, natural disasters do occure. Mother Gaia is about to give birth into a new dimension and we have to wake up. Will the world wake up if all their toys are taken away?
  • Yes, let's send some Love their way, they are our brothers and sisters.  Being positive is never the wrong way to go, our loving thoughts pave the way for energy to move in and transform suffering and loss into joy and opportunity... :)
  • No one is saying to feel fearful, I'm saying let's send light to the people affected by it and use our collective energy to stop further destruction that might ensue from this earthquake triggered tsunami, which is threatening coastlines across the Pacific.
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