2:46 p.m. on Friday, March 11th 2011, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan, since officials began keeping records, struck and the devastation is far from over!
Japan was hit by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake Friday, followed by a 4-metre tsunami on the northeast coast. Aftershocks are continuing and people along the coast are moving to higher ground in anticipation of a tsunami.
A day after Japan’s most powerful earthquake claimed hundreds of lives, authorities on Saturday continued rescue operations and efforts to avert further catastrophe at damaged nuclear power plants.
Tokyo Electric Power Corp. , also known as Tepco, the level of cooling water surrounding fuel rods in the No. 1 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant dropped temporarily, according to Kyodo News.
The power plant operator reportedly said part of fuel rods may have been damaged by overheating.
Tepco undertook operations to release pressure building inside the container housing the reactors, which led to the release of a small amount of radioactive vapor, according to the reports.
Japanese authorities declared a state of nuclear emergency on Friday evening.
Some 20,000 people evacuated from the areas around the plants Saturday, Kyodo reported.
The Tepco reactors are about 150 miles north of Tokyo, and about 40 miles from the epicenter of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern Japan a day earlier.
Japanese media says over 1,200 people are either confirmed dead or missing so far, many in the city of Sendai near the epicenter.
The death toll is expected to climb as many reported missing in coastal areas swept by a tsunami are unlikely to have survived.
Check out some more horrific photos and also videos of the devastation below:
The quake also triggered a tsunami that sent strong waves crashing on Hawaii and also caused minor damage some 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in Oregon and California.
The world is in our prayers.