At 2:46 p.m. on Friday afternoon, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan off of Honshu, Japan’s most heavily poluated island that is approximately 200 miles from Tokyo. It’s the biggest earthquake to hit Japan, and spawned a ferocious 23-foot tsunami that has already killed hundreds of people.
Video footage of the tsunami shows boats, cars, and homes being swept away while fires rage out of control. Police have already reported that 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, while another 88 were confirmed dead and at least 349 reported missing. Japan’s coast guard is also currently searching a shipyard in Miyagi for 80 dock workers that were stationed on a ship that was swept away. While Reuters has reported that the death toll in the country is expected to exceed 1,000.
In addition, tsunami warnings have been issued for the West Coast in the United States, but those have also reflected that no wave is actually imminent.
“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed during a news conference.
Japan is a country used to earthquakes, but this one has been particularly devastating as a result of the tsunami that came in its wake. It’s being reported that more than 4 million buildings are without power in Tokyo, and all of their transportation systems, including airports, have been closed.
“Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment.”
President Obama has already released a statement saying, “The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.”
But if you’re looking for ways to help, we have options (Via Huffington Post):
- The Red Cross is asking for $10 donations to their relief efforts in Japan by visiting Redcross.org or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to donate from your phone.
- Save the Children is organizing efforts and donations to their Children’s Emergency Fund will support their cause.
- The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was just launched at GlobalGiving.org and aims to raise funds which they plan to distribute to various efforts in the region on a need basis.
- Google has also stepped up to help those with family members abroad. They’ve launched the Person Finder in an effort to reconnect people with those who have been involved in the disaster.