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8.9 Earthquake Hits Japan [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:25:20 |Display all floors

Daybreak reveals huge devastation in tsunami-hit Japan

TOKYO - Japan confronted devastation along its northeastern coast on Saturday, with fires raging and parts of some cities under water after a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed at least 1,000 people.  

Daybreak was expected to reveal the full extent of the death and damage from Friday's 8.8 magnitude earthquake and the 10-metre high tsunami it sent surging into cities and villages, sweeping away everything in its path.

In one of the worst-hit residential areas, people buried under rubble could be heard calling out "help" and "when are we going to be rescued", Kyodo news agency reported.

The government warned there could be a small radiation leak from a nuclear reactor whose cooling system was knocked out by the quake. Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered an evacuation zone around the plant be expanded to 10 km (6 miles) from 3 km. Some 3,000 people had earlier been moved out of harm's way.

Underscoring concerns about the Fukushima plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, US officials said Japan had asked for coolant to avert a rise in the temperature of its nuclear rods, but ultimately handled the matter on its own. Officials said a leak was still possible because pressure would have to be released.  

The unfolding natural disaster prompted offers of search and rescue help from 45 countries.  

China said rescuers were ready to help with quake relief while US President Barack Obama told Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan the United States would assist in any way.  

"This is likely to be a humanitarian relief operation of epic proportions," Japan expert Sheila Smith of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations wrote in a commentary.

The northeastern Japanese city of Kesennuma, with a population of 74,000, was hit by widespread fires and one-third of the city was under water, Jiji news agency said on Saturday.

The airport in the city of Sendai, home to one million people, was on fire, it added.   

TV footage from Friday showed a muddy torrent of water carrying cars and wrecked homes at high speed across farmland near Sendai, 300 km (180 miles) northeast of Tokyo. Ships had been flung onto a harbour wharf, where they lay helplessly on their side.

Boats, cars and trucks were tossed around like toys in the water after a small tsunami hit the town of Kamaichi in northern Japan. Kyodo news agency reported that contact had been lost with four trains in the coastal area.  

Japanese politicians pushed for an emergency budget to fund relief efforts after Kan asked them to "save the country", Kyodo news agency reported. Japan is already the most heavily indebted major economy in the world, meaning any funding efforts would be closely scrutinised by financial markets.

Domestic media said the death toll was expected to exceed 1,000, most of whom appeared to have drowned by churning waters.

The extent of the destruction along a lengthy stretch of coastline suggested the death toll could rise significantly.

Even in a nation accustomed to earthquakes, the devastation was shocking.  

"A big area of Sendai city near the coast, is flooded. We are hearing that people who were evacuated are stranded," said Rie Sugimoto, a reporter for NHK television in Sendai.  

"About 140 people, including children, were rushed to an elementary school and are on the rooftop but they are surrounded by water and have nowhere else to go."

Japan has prided itself on its speedy tsunami warning system, which has been upgraded several times since its inception in 1952, including after a 7.8 magnitude quake triggered a 30-metre high wave before a warning was given.

The country has also built countless breakwaters and floodgates to protect ports and coastal areas, although experts said they might not have been enough to prevent disasters such as the one that struck on Friday.

In Tokyo, many residents who had earlier fled swaying buildings slept in their offices after public transport was shut down. Many subways in Tokyo later resumed operation but trains did not run.  

"I was unable stay on my feet because of the violent shaking. The aftershocks gave us no reprieve. Then the tsunamis came when we tried to run for cover. It was the strongest quake I experienced," a woman with a baby on her back told television in northern Japan.

Fires Across the Coast

The quake, the most powerful since Japan started keeping records 140 years ago, sparked at least 80 fires in cities and towns along the coast, Kyodo said.

Other Japanese nuclear power plants and oil refineries were shut down and one refinery was ablaze.  

Auto plants, electronics factories and refineries shut, roads buckled and power to millions of homes and businesses was knocked out. Several airports, including Tokyo's Narita, were closed and rail services halted. All ports were shut.  

The central bank said it would cut short a two-day policy review scheduled for next week to one day on Monday and promised to do its utmost to ensure financial market stability.

The disaster occurred as the world's third-largest economy had been showing signs of reviving from an economic contraction in the final quarter of last year. It raised the prospect of major disruptions for many key businesses and a massive repair bill running into tens of billions of dollars.  

The tsunami alerts revived memories of the giant waves that struck Asia in 2004.  

Warnings were issued for countries to the west of Japan and across the Pacific as far away as Colombia and Peru, but the tsunami dissipated as it sped across the ocean and worst fears in the Americas were not realised.  

The earthquake was the fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century.

"The building shook for what seemed a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got under their desks," Reuters correspondent Linda Sieg said in Tokyo. "It was probably the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago."

The quake surpasses the Great Kanto quake of September 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.  

The 1995 Kobe quake caused $100 billion in damage and was the most expensive natural disaster in history. Economic damage from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was estimated at about $10 billion.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas.

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:35:32 |Display all floors

Aid offers pour in after Japan quake

GENEVA  - More than 45 countries were awaiting a request from Tokyo after offering to help Japan deal with a huge earthquake and tsunami, the United Nations said on Friday.

Some 68 search and rescue teams from 45 countries were on standby, but the United Nations was awaiting a green light from authorities in Japan to deploy, said Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to offer to help "in any way possible", the Japanese Jiji agency reported.

In a statement, Obama said: "The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial ... The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy."

In the most concrete instance of immediate help, the U.S. Air Force flew coolant to the Fukushima nuclear plant to help deal with a potentially dangerous breakdown of the cooling system, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The Russian emergency services agency ERMACOM offered 40 people with three sniffer dogs, while Singapore had civil defence forces on standby and Poland offered firefighters.

China, Switzerland and the United States also offered rescue teams, while Britain, France and others said they were ready to offer whatever help was required.

"The world is shocked and saddened by the images coming out of Japan this morning," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York. "We will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time."

It was not clear whether Japan would in fact request foreign assistance as its emergency services and civil defence mechanisms are highly developed, according to aid officials in Geneva, the world's humanitarian hub.


The biggest earthquake to hit Japan since records began rocked its northeast coast, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that killed hundreds of people and swept away everything in its path.

The tsunami was initially said by the Red Cross to be higher than some of the Pacific islands that it could hit, but the agency later said that evacuations in many coastal areas in the vast Pacific rim, including the Philippines, had been efficient.

Poorer nations were at greater risk than Japan from the wall of water, though many have beefed up early warning systems and evacuation plans since the 2004 tsunami, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.

"Our biggest concern is the Asia and Pacific region, where developing countries are far more vulnerable to this type of unfolding disaster. The tsunami is a major threat," spokesman Paul Conneally told Reuters in Geneva earlier on Friday.

"At the moment, it is higher than some islands and could go right over them. That is a scenario that nobody wants to see," he said.

Up to 300 bodies were found in the Japanese coastal city of Sendai, Japanese media said. NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned.

All national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the region were mobilised and evacuating communities, according to the Federation, the world's largest disaster relief network.

The agency said it would take about 24 hours from the time the quake struck for the tsunami danger to pass.

Conneally said that waves hitting the Philippines were smaller than expected at about 80 cm high, and evacuations in the archipelago and other areas had been efficient.

"Authorities in all of these places are warning people not to be complacent, we don't know how it may or may not develop. A lot of evacuations have taken place already in vulnerable coastal areas," he told Reuters.

"These remain red alert areas for us, in terms of our readiness and having volunteers mobilised to provide communities with temporary shelter if needed," he said.

More than 226,000 people died in the 2004 tsunami, which affected 13 Asian countries around the Indian Ocean and led to a huge international aid programme.

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:41:05 |Display all floors

UN chief expresses deepest sympathies to Japan

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed his deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and government, as the country suffered a lot in a powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.8.

"The world is shocked and saddened by the images coming from Japan," Ban said in a statement issued this morning. "On behalf of the United Nations, I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and government, most especially those who lost family and friends in the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis."

Ban stressed that "the United Nations stands by the people of Japan" and "will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time."

The UN chief expressed hope that under the leadership of Prime Minister Kan Naoto and with the full support and solidarity of the international community, the Japanese people and government will be able to overcome this difficult time as soon as possible.

Ban said the world body would do all to mobilize humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction teams to help Japan as soon as possible.

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:50:16 |Display all floors

My heart is with Japan now

My most sincere condolences, my thoughts and best wishes are with Japanese suffering from one of nature's most destructive force.

Those who are no more with us are in a better place.
Let the dice fly high

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:51:24 |Display all floors


Originally posted by satsu_jin at 2011-3-11 18:00
The 8,4 or 8,8/8,9 quake (many conflicting measurments) was huge. Here in Tokyo all public transport stopped (trains, subways, shinkansen) and will not resume anytime soon, many buildings etc. caug ...

Hope all is alright with you and yours.
Let the dice fly high

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Post time 2011-3-12 07:58:07 |Display all floors
I have been shocked by this tragedy

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Post time 2011-3-12 08:02:51 |Display all floors
Originally posted by Tremblingblue at 2011-3-12 02:37
Any info on volunteering? I think they're going to need quite a lot of people for this one.

No Idea about France, but here is how that's done in Germany.

You can sign up for the Disaster Relief Service (Technisches Hilfswerk - THW) Reserve.

Gotta spend time for Training and stuff regularily there.

Then it's their call when to take you somewhere where you are needed.

You will then have to just put everything else aside.

And it's not even that few who sign up for it.
您买象牙 - 您杀了大象! - “用现代文明标准比划中国人,是严重的种族歧视行为。”
„Ich ficke wo, wen, und wann ich will, hast du mich verstanden. Auch du könntest ficken, aber du kannst es ja gar nicht, deine deutsche Genauigkeit... verbietet es dir“. Jean-Claude Juncker

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