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Written by Tushar Gajjar   
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 17:30
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The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami written in Japanese as 東北地方太平洋沖地震, which is pronounced as Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin, and literally means Tōhoku region Pacific Ocean offshore earthquake was a 9.0 MW megathrust earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (Japan Standard Time that is 05:46 UTC) on 11th March 2011, Friday. The epicenter of this mega earthquake was 130 kilometers (approx 81 miles) off the east coast of the Oshika Peninsula, Tōhoku, Japan. Hypocenter of the earthquake was at a depth of 32 km (or 20 miles).

Japan has the history of disastrous earthquakes but this one was the strongest in the recent times and also the most devastating. The megathrust quake has also created the nuclear crisis and hydrogen leakage problems that forced authorities to evacuate many highly dense and populated areas and cities of the Japan on the eastern coast.

This big earthquake also triggered much more dangerous tsunami waves. After the warnings, evacuations along Japan's Pacific coast and in at least 20countries, including the entire Pacific coast of North America and South America started within no time. The earthquake created extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 10meters in height (approx 33ft) that struck Japan just few minutes after the megathrust earthquake, in some cases traveling up to 10km ( approx 6mi) inland. This waves also reached many other Asia-Pacific countries after few hours of the quake.

Duration of the earthquake was approx 5 minutes and many aftershocks of lighter magnitude was observed even after 2 days of the megathrust quake.  Japan was affected by the quake while several other countries are also affected by the tsunami in the Pacific rim region.

Total damage due to this earthquake included Flooding, landslides, fires, building and infrastructure damage, nuclear incidents, hydrogen leakage and humanitarian crisis & rehabilitation for the millions of people of Japan.

Till the last news came in there were at least 517 aftershocks were observed in Japan alone of which  35 were above 6.0 MW and preliminary reports about casualties released by government suggested that at least 4,255 are dead, 2,282 injured and 8,194 missing due to the natural disaster.

You can use the Google Person finder 2011 Japan Earthquake below for more information about missing persons and can also submit the information about them:

Google Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake


Google also started the crisis response page where you can find information and donate to various agencies helping victims in Japan crisis:

Google Crisis Response Japan


The National Japanese Policy Agency has reported that 4.4 million households in north-eastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without drinking water. Many powerhouses are down due to damages and also at least 3 nuclear reactors suffered explosions making power supply problems even bigger in Japan.  Government has announced periodical power-cuts in many areas in the country.

Residents living in the area around certain radius of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant are evacuated to the safer places by the agencies in Japan as radiation has reached many major cities of Japan including Tokyo. Scientists believe that if the wind supports the direction of radiation it may reach the Alaska and America within one week of time.

Recent earthquake in Japan is considered by scientists, since the recordings of the  magnitude scale in 1900, as one of the 5 biggest earthquakes in history and the strongest observed by the Japan in last 110  years. 

In an official statement Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that "in the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan." Few days after the earthquake Japan's Emperor Akihito said in a highly unusual TV address to the nation that he is deeply worried about the nuclear crisis his country is facing following last Friday's quake and tsunami.  He further added, "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times" He also urged survivors not to abandon hope and keep fighting.

Many strong quakes have hit the Japan in the past but this earthquake was worse than most of them including the Great Kanto Earthquake of year 1923 when thousands of people died and many of the Japanese cities were totally damaged. This is kind of earthquake that was never been experienced before in Japan and is the most devastating of all recorded history in the country.

The situation at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima, just 240 kilometers north of Tokyo city is not yet under control and government agencies and workers are trying hard to control the world's worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.

Surprisingly enough economic condition in Japan is not as worst as market strategists expected after the quake and especially after the Bank of Japan offered ¥15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system on 14 March 2011 to normalize market conditions. Estimates from AIR Worldwide place insured losses from the megathrust earthquake alone at US$14.5 to $34.6 billion. Market experts believed that stocks in-fact may rise after the packages announced by the government and improving conditions in Japan.

BBC News stories and updates on Japan Earthquake and tsunami


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