Friday, March 11, 2011

Huge Tsunami Slams Into Japan After Massive Earthquake

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history slammed the eastern coast today, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control.

The early initial death toll was reported as 15, but there are fears it will be much higher.

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.



Pacific tsunami: Hawaii, US West coast and the Philippines issue warning

The US West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said any tsunami generated by the earthquake would hit Hawaii at around 2.45am (12.45GMT) and the West coast at 7.45am (3.45GMT).

Hawaii officials scrambled to evacuate locals and tourists from the coastline.

"We have about four hours to clear the shorelines," said John Cummings of the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management. "This looks like this will be a very serious event."

Warning sirens went off at 9:59pm (0759 GMT Friday) and were to go off every hour on the hour afterwards.

Authorities were arranging buses to evacuate residents and trying to open evacuation centres.


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