Japan Devastated By Massive Earthquake, Tsunamis

Atlanta 3/11/2011 02:43 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan Friday, triggering tsunamis and sparking fires at oil refineries and at least one nuclear power plant. The tremor hit at a depth of 15.2 miles at 2:46 p.m. local time about 80 miles east of Miyagi Prefecture, a densely populated area of Japan’s main island of Honshu. Tokyo, located some 231 miles from the epicenter, felt the jolt but appears to have escaped major damage.

Shortly after the tremor, authorities issued a tsunami advisory for northeast coastal areas. Waves -- some reported at 23 feet high -- swept through coastal towns and farms lands, dragging houses, cars and boats with them.  

Officials issued tsunami warnings for at least 50 countries and territories across the Pacific, including Hawaii, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Chile, the Philippines, Russia and Indonesia.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported between 200 and 300 bodies have been found in the city of Sendai, which is located in Miyagi Prefecture. The death toll is expected to rise as hundreds of people remain missing.

Massive power outages were also reported. At least 4 million homes in Tokyo and nearby areas are without electricity.

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