A huge 8.8 earthquake hit off the coast of Japan at 2:46 PM, triggering a huge tsunami that’s sweeping away everything in its path.
Casualty reports are over 100 and rising.
[UPDATES: Reinsurance stocks get slammed… Oil plunges below $100… The Yen shoots higher… The Tsunami hits Hawaii… A nuclear plant is evacuated]
See dramatic pictures from the quake and tsunami >
“I thought I was going to die, it was enormous,” a Japan resident said on TV.
The most frightening side effect of the disaster: Japanese officials are warning of a “nuclear disaster,” according to JibTV, which is providing live coverage from Japan and said, if the reactors at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are unable to cool, “it could lead to a nuclear disaster.”
If that happens, the recommendation is to stay indoors and limit your intake and food. This is the first time anything like this has happened, they say. There are still no radio active leaks.
Reports are out that over 100 people have been found dead after the quake and tsunami, but it could get much worse.
When a 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Banda Aceh area of Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, it caused a massive tsunami that killed about 250,000 people in 14 countries and washed away entire communities, according to CNN.
[credit provider=”The Japan Meterological Society”]
Watch a video of the destruction of one of the tsunamis in the Japanese port city of Kamaishi below.”The wall of water moving inland can be seen swamping everything in its path,” according to CBN World News.
Terrifying reports about the 20-foot tsunami, which is sweeping away cars, boats, trucks, farms and buildings, comes after an aftershock from a massive earthquake that measured 8.8 on the Richter scale. A picture of where the first quake hit is on the right.
The worst earthquake ever measured 9.5 on the Richter scale, in Chile in 1960.
[credit provider=”BBC News” url=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709791″]
A Reuters reporter in Japan described the quake as, “the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago.””The building shook for what seemed like a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got under their desks.”
After the 8.8 quake, a number of strong aftershocks followed, one measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale.
Live video coverage from Japan’s meteorological society is available in English by clicking here. (It’s hard to watch.)
Apparently long lines are forming outside convenience stores and there are reports of food shortages. Many people are unable to make phone calls because the lines are so crowded.
Buildings that have been hit:
- An oil refinery in Chiba (a city close to Tokyo) prefecture is battling a major fire. A photo is at right.
- An oil factory in Ichiara is also battling a fire. A photo is at your right.
- The roof collapsed in the Tokyo Kudan Kaikan, where 600 people were gathering for a college graduation. 25 people were injured, 5 seriously.
- A ceiling collapsed in a bookstore in Sendai, northeastern Japan
- More than 8.4 million buildings in Japan have been hit by a power failure, 4 million are households
- A nuclear power plant is facing an “emergency situation,” but there are no reports of any nuclear or radioactive leaks yet. However, a cooling agent needed to cool the reactor isn’t working — there isn’t enough electricity to cool the reactor. If the emergency cooler fails to operate, it could lead to a nuclear disaster. If that happens, stay indoors and limit your intake and food. This is the first time anything like this has happened, says JibTV, which is providing live coverage from Japan. There are still no radio active leaks.
- A welfare facility in Fukushima. Five are dead, more are missing
- A ceiling collapsing at at airport in JapanAn airport. A photo of the earthquake hitting the airport is at the right. Click here to watch the tsunami overtake the airport in 60 seconds >
Evacuation warnings have been issued for over 20 countries that could be hit by tsunamis soon:
- All islands in the Hawaii chain
- Russia and Indonesia, Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica
- The west coast in the U.S.
- Click here for a map of the cities where earthquakes hit >
Tsunamis have hit a number of other cities. Click here to see the full U.S. west coat Tsunami warning >
The aftershocks are expected to continue.
Watch a video of the tsunami hitting a port in Japan below.