An 8.9 earthquake, one of the largest ever, stuck just off the coast of Japan at 2:46pm Tokyo time causing massive damage to the northern part of the country and triggering a 23-foot tsunami and more than 50 aftershocks. The Associated Press is reporting that 200-300 bodies have been found on the coast, but the death count is expected to rise.
Japan has also shut down four of its nuclear power plants to prevent damage, but widespread power outages are being reported.
Tsunami warnings have gone out to the entire Pacific rim, including South America, Canada, Alaska, and the entire U.S. West Coast, and it’s been reported that a tsunami has already struck the coast of Hawaii.
President Obama released a statement offering his condolences for the tragedy:
“(First Lady) Michelle (Obama) and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.
The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.”