Yesterday's devastating earthquake (which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale) and tsunami that hit Japan is an immense catastrophe on a scale that's hard to comprehend. Indeed, the earthquake was so powerful that it moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis. [link via CNN]
This afternoon, it was reported that nearly 9,500 people are unaccounted for in the town of Minamisanriku. The town is located near the epicenter of Friday's earthquake.
Channel 4 News has a shocking video from Japanese TV that shows the dramatic damage to the port town of Minamisanriku. The before and after scenes are hard to watch - the town is completely destroyed:
Also, one of Japan's nuclear power plants (Fukushima Number 1) was badly damaged in Friday's massive earthquake. Thousands were evacuated from the area near the nuclear reactor. World watches nervously as Japan struggles with nuclear reactors. [link via CNN] Very worrying indeed!
Japan has requested help from the UK in the aid effort and British aid supplies and rescue experts are being sent to Japan. [link via BBC News]
My heart goes out to everyone in Japan and my condolences to those who lost loved ones in the earthquake and the tsunami.
How you can help: Japan Tsunami Appeal - British Red Cross
Google has opened a crisis response page with useful links for earthquake victims: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.
15 March, 2011 Edited to add links to current information about radiation risk from the nuclear plant accident:
Radiation exposure: a quick guide to what each level means
IAEA provides latest information on the Japanese nuclear accident and status at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant [via International Atomic Energy Agency]
Japan's Current Nuclear Situation: A realistic View - Tokyography's Blog
Q&A: Take proper steps to avoid exposure to fallout
[via The Japan Times]
Radiation exposure: The fast facts about thyroid cancer and other health risks [TIME.com]
Related post from my blog:
Twitter List: Japan for news and information regarding the current situation.