After the 7,3 magnitude quake on Wednesday, Japanese people faced terrible moments again. Just when they thought the nightmare is over, the north-east of Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, triggering a tsunami that has caused major damages killed hundreds of people and injured numerous others, the authorities said.
Japanese television showed frightening images in which cars, ships, buildings were swept away by a vast wall of water. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them with more than 6.0 magnitude. Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300 miles stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter in the sea off the north-eastern coast.
The earthquake also triggered a number of fires, including one at an oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, engulfing storage tanks.
There were reports of about 20 people injured in Tokyo after the roof of a hall collapsed on to a graduation ceremony. Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai. Another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.
The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of the disaster. “The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” said Prime Minister Naoto Kan at a news conference. A tsunami warning has been launched across the Pacific to include the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hawaii, New Zealand, the Pacific coast of Russia and North and South America.
Also the government has declared an emergency situation for nuclear power. Bullet train services to northern Japan were halted, rapid transit in Tokyo was suspended and some nuclear power plants automatically shut down. There are reports that 4 million homes in Japan are without power, mobile communications are also down. Everywhere in Japan there is panic and chaos. Many people are scared and they said they had never felt such a powerful earthquake.
Even if Japan is usually ready for this kind of disasters, now it’s too much. “I was terrified and I’m still frightened,” said Hidekatsu Hata, 36, manager of a Chinese noodle restaurant in Tokyo, where buildings shook violently. “I’ve never experienced such a big quake before.”