Photo: ReutersIf you live in an area that's been affected by Friday's earthquake and tsunami, please check in by leaving a comment below. Your friends in the Shine community are worried about you!
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake is thought to be the largest in Japan's history. More than 80 aftershocks followed, rattling the area with jolts that were magnitude 6.0 or greater. The main quake triggered a 23-foot tsunami that swept away cars, boats, and homes and left hundreds of people dead; Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area already. The pictures and video of the damage are shocking, and recent eye-witness reports are devestating.
"A big area of Sendai city near the coast, is flooded. We are hearing that people who were evacuated are stranded," said Rie Sugimoto, a reporter for NHK television in Sendai, in a Reuters report. "About 140 people, including children, were rushed to an elementary school and are on the rooftop but they are surrounded by water and have nowhere else to go."
"The building shook for what seemed a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got under their desks," Reuters correspondent Linda Sieg said in Tokyo. "It was probably the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago."
The United States has approximately 38,000 troops, 3,000 Department of Defense civilians, and 43,000 of their family members in Japan; no serious injuries or deaths have been reported, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The world has mobilized to offer assistance to the devastated area. According to Reuters, President Barack Obama said that the U.S. is "ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial," and the Defense Department is preparing U.S. forces in the area to help. The U.S. Air Force flew coolant to a Japanese nuclear plant to help them deal with a potentially dangerous breakdown of their cooling system, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. Nearly 70 search-and-rescue teams from 45 countries were on standby, Elizabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, but the UN was waiting for permission from Japan to deploy.To help gather and share information about loved ones still missing in the quake or flooding, Google has launched a person-finder application that lets friends and relatives search for submit information about people they know who were in the affected areas when the disasters struck. Google says it currently has information on about 7,200 people, but they do not verify the accuracy of the data, which is available to the public and viewable to anyone.
If you'd like to donate money to organizations that are helping in the area, here are a few to consider (click on the name to reach each donation page):
- The American Red Cross
- Doctors Without Borders
- International Medical Corps
- Salvation Army
- Save the Children
Network for Good is also accepting donations that it will divide among several different releif organizations.
Know someone affected by the earthquake or tsunami or their aftermaths? Let your friends in the Shine community know by leaving a comment below.
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