Japan struck by devastating earthquake
The north-eastern area of Japan has been struck by severe earthquake, that has further triggered a tsunami that has left extensive damage across the country.
It is always incredibly upsetting to wake up to tragic news, yet today is unfortunately such a day. With Japanese relatives, and extended family based in Japan, it has been a very hard morning for me, but I felt it important to extend my thoughts and prayers to those affected by the disaster.
The earthquake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, is the biggest to have ever struck Japan, hit at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) and hit around 250 miles (400km) from the capital and at a depth of 20 miles, with further aftershocks occuring.
If the devastation of the earthquake wasn’t enough for the country to deal with, a tsunami struck the coastal region including Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. There have been reports from Kyodo news agency that the waves that hit Sendai, within the Miyagi prefecture, were 10-metres high.
Footage broadcast by Japan’s NHK television has provided a harrowing insight into the extent of the damage, with debris-filled water sweeping away buildings, cars and ships as the devastation continues inland.
Farmland around Sendai has been entirely submerged and the waves have been powerful enough to spread cars across the runway of the city’s airport.
Fortunately, Japan have been able to shut down four of their nuclear power plants, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan commenting that there had been no radiation leaks. There is, however, a fire currently affecting a turbine building of the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi prefecture.
Kan has offered his condolences and sympathy to those affected by the disaster, and explained that an emergency response headquarters has now been set up.
Police and local officials have confirmed that at least 32 people have been killed following the events, yet such a death toll could rise significantly.
You can keep up to date with the latest information regarding the situation at BBC News, and I also urge anyone who would like to do so, to donate to the British Red Cross as they provide support to Japan. You can do so here.