A magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan caused a 13-foot tsunami that damaged buildings and washed away homes along the northeastern coast, Friday afternoon on March 11 2011. Aftershocks continued to rock the region as images on Japanese television showed cars and boats being swept away by tsunami waters.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Japan, Russia, Marcus Islands, Northern Marianas, Guam, Wake Islands, Taiwan, Yap, Philippines, Marshall Islands, Belau, Midway Islands, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Johnston Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Howland-Baker, Hawaii, Tuvalu, Palmyra Islands, Vanuatu, Tokelau, Jarvis Islands, Wallis-Futuna, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga, Mexico, Kermadec Islands, Fr. Polynesia, New Zealand, Pitcairn, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Antarctica, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
The quake, the world’s fifth-largest since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, struck at 2.46 p.m. local time.
In addition to loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, the resulting tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents, primarily the ongoing level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.
The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed 15,365 deaths, 5,363 injured, and 8,206 people missing across eighteen prefectures, as well as over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed.