Hundreds of people are dead after one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Japan, triggering a devastating 10-metre-high tsunami along parts of the country’s northeastern coastline.
The massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck on Friday afternoon local time, creating gigantic waves which swept away cars, boats, homes and people as the surging water overwhelmed coastal barriers.
Widespread fires burned out of control and Japan’s nuclear industry was on alert as reactors shut down automatically as a safety precaution. Millions are reported to be without electricity, airports are closed and public transport in Tokyo and other cities has come to a halt as Japan reels amid the twin devastations.
Police said 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai where hundreds of buildings have collapsed. Japan’s NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Police said another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.
Thousands of people living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture were ordered to evacuate after the reactor developing a cooling fault. Officials said the move was a precaution and there was no evidence of leaking radiation.
Meanwhile, countries around the Pacific basin are on tsunami alert amid warnings that a wall of water could completely wash over low-lying islands.
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Post author: Daniel Semper