Northern Japan engulfed in destruction (NBC Nightly News, March 11, 2011) – The search is on for hundreds of people still missing in the aftermath of the most powerful earthquake to ever strike Japan. The quake triggered a devastating tsunami that was responsible for at least several hundred deaths. NBC’s Kaori Enjoji reports. (05:00)
NBC News, Reuters, and The Associated Press via MSNBC.com
March 11, 2011
Key details from early reports:
TOKYO — A magnitude 8.9 earthquake — the biggest in modern Japanese history — slammed the island nation’s eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 23-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland and prompting a “nuclear emergency.”
Hours later, the tsunami reached Hawaii, with initial reports citing little damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.
According to Japanese police, 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of Friday’s disaster. …
According to reports, police told the Kyodo news agency that a passenger train with an unknown number of people aboard was missing in one coastal area. …
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 2:46 p.m. local time and was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s — and the fifth strongest ever recorded worldwide.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles northeast of Tokyo. …
Huge surges from Japan quake smash ships, rip out docks in Oregon, California; Hawaii hit by flooding
March 12, 2011
CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — The tsunami warnings moved faster than the waves, giving millions of people across the Pacific hours to flee to higher ground. Now they are left to clean up what the waves have wrought: Destroyed docks and damaged boats. …
Early Friday, the tsunami waves reached Hawaii, tossing boats in Honolulu. The water covered beachfront roads and rushed into hotels on the Big Island. The waves carried a house out to sea. Seven-foot waves flooded low-lying areas in Maui. …
Outside Brookings, Ore., just north of the California border, four people went to a beach to watch the waves and were swept into the sea. Two got out on their own, and the others were rescued, authorities said.
Brookings harbor saw the worst reported damage in the state with half the facility destroyed and 10 boats sunk, Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said. …
In Crescent City, Calif., miles to the south, the Coast Guard suspended their hours-long search at dark for a man who was swept out to sea. He was taking photos near the mouth of the Klamath River. Two people with him jumped in to rescue him. They were able to get back to land, authorities said. …
An 8-foot wave rushed into the harbor, destroying about 35 boats and ripping chunks off the wooden docks, as marina workers and fishermen scrambled between surges to secure property. Officials estimated millions of dollars in damage. …
Textbooks, drawings and musical instruments are scattered around the damaged classroom of Ohkawa Elementary School, Ishinomaki city, Japan, on March 21, 2011. The school, located at the mouth of Kitagami River, was swallowed by a tsunami as students and teachers tried to escape outside after the huge earthquake on March 11. Of 108 students, 21 were confirmed dead and 56 are still missing. (Image: Koki Uemura, Sankei Shimbun / MSN Japan)
See more panoramic images from the disaster in Japan
The 2011 tsunami in Japan caused what is estimated to have been the most expensive natural disaster ever, with more than 15,000 lives lost. Click here for interactive before-and-after photographic feature.
Wall of water: This combination photograph shows one of the most noted images from the March 11, 2011, Japanese tsunami — a defense wall in Miyako being overwhelmed by the wall of water thrown up by a magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake, one of the largest on record. The second photo was taken on Feb. 17, 2012. (Photo credit: Reuters via MSNBC.com)
Related report on this site
Still images captured from video over a two-hour period show the changing water color and wave action in Hilo Bay following the Feb. 27, 2010 Chilean earthquake. (Photo credit: MSNBC)
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One year ago today, I reported that in the fourth major terrorist attack in Pakistan in a week, a pair of suicide bombers targeting army vehicles detonated explosives within seconds of each other, killing at least 43 people in the eastern city of Lahore and wounding about 100.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — March 12, 2009
Worshippers at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s largest mosque. The mosque is suspected by the families of some missing Somali men of having a role in their loved ones’ disappearance. (Photo credit: Craig Lassig / AP)
Two years ago today, on March 12, 2009, I reported that the FBI was investigating whether young Somali men were being radicalized in Minnesota and recruited to fight with terrorist groups such as al-Shabab in Somalia.
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