18 F-2 fighters damaged by Tsunami in Japan

Mainichi

The strongest recorded earthquake to hit Japan rocked the northeastern coast Friday, triggering a series of tsunami including a 10-meter wall of water that submerged residential areas and farms with muddy streams and washed away scores of people, vehicles and boats in fields and ports in the region.

The 10-meter tsunami was observed at Sendai port in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, at around 3:55 p.m. after the quake with a magnitude of 8.8 rocked the region, local police said.

A tsunami expert at the government-affiliated Port and Airport Research Institute described the tsunami following the 2:46 p.m. quake as “one of the highest and widest in terms of areas of devastation in the nation’s history.”

Shigeo Takahashi, senior researcher at the institute, said, “It’s a tsunami of a once-in-a-century scale.”

The strong quake and a series of aftershocks prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a series of tsunami warnings and advisories covering the whole coast of Japan.

The agency warned of huge tsunami in the Pacific coastal region from Hokkaido in northern Japan to Tokushima Prefecture in western Japan on Friday, following the 2:46 p.m. quake which measured the highest level of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, and issued a tsunami advisory for areas on the Sea of Japan coast in the Kinki and Chugoku regions in western Japan early Saturday.

It also advised residents in Pacific coastal areas to move to higher ground and stay away from the sea.

The agency called for the public to stay alert over the next month for aftershocks that could register a magnitude of 7 or more and trigger tsunami.

On Friday, the Defense Ministry said around 1,800 houses in the city of Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have been devastated.

TV footage showed quake-triggered tsunami causing the Natori River in Sendai to swell in spots near its mouth and a wide, muddy stream from the river rapidly moving to submerge a number of houses and buildings in residential areas and fields nearby, leveling everything in its path and hitting boats, containers, vehicles and a massive amount of lumber near the river.

After the tsunami, around 200 to 300 bodies were washed ashore in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward. Officials of the ward facing the Pacific Ocean said almost all of the approximately 1,200 households within a district where a tsunami alert had been issued were affected by a tsunami.

At least two Japan Coast Guard patrol boats of the 2nd Coast Guard Regional Headquarters in Shiogama in the prefecture were also washed away following a tsunami, while a fishing boat with nine crew members was struck by a tidal wave, leaving four of them, all Indonesian nationals, missing, coast guard officials said.

Other footage showed more than 20 cars and containers being washed into the sea when a tsunami hit Kamaishi port.

The National Police Agency said the area of tsunami devastation in Iwate Prefecture, also in northeastern Japan, has spread to include Kamaishi, Miyako and Iwaizumi, while quite a number of people have died or are missing following a tsunami in the coastal town of Yamada in the prefecture, where many houses were washed away.

According to the Miyagi prefectural government, 50 teachers and workers at Kesennuma Koyo Prefectural Senior High School are stranded in a school building which was flooded to its fourth floor after a tsunami hit the area.

The government also said 50 percent of the city of Higashimatsushima in the prefecture has been submerged and many residents have been left on the roofs of their homes while many buildings are on fire in the city.

The Ibaraki prefectural police said three people were carried away by tsunami while watching the ocean from their home in the eastern prefecture, while the Miyagi police said a ship carrying 100 people was washed away by tsunami.

Meanwhile, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said about 300 buildings were washed away by tsunami in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.

The Sendai airport authority in Miyagi Prefecture said the airport’s runways were submerged by tidal waves. The Air Self-Defense Force’s Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi was inundated with seawater, damaging 18 F-2 fighters and a number of other aircraft possibly permanently, the Defense Ministry said.

A 7.3-meter tsunami was also observed in Soma port in Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere, the meteorological agency said, adding a 4.1-meter tsunami was observed in Kamaishi port in Iwate Prefecture.

The city government of Soma said it had confirmed that tsunami surged to around 4 to 5 kilometers inland from the coast.

The Tokyo metropolitan government said it has shut 19 of its floodgates to prepare for possible tsunami.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for more than 50 countries and regions on the Pacific coast including Russia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Chile, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas, while weather agencies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Panama and Peru also issued similar warnings.

Tsunami from the quake reached countries and regions in the Pacific basin including the state of Hawaii, three islets in the Kuril Islands, including four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan, and the Philippines.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Mar 12 2011. Filed under All News, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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