Disaster In Japan: What You Should Know

Photo: (European Pressphoto Agency)

Japan is struggling to sustain itself in the aftermath of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated the nation on Friday (March 11). The quake is believed to be 700 times more powerful than Haiti’s–making it the fifth most destructive earthquake since 1900. Here’s what you should know:

Photo: (Associated Press)

What happened? The earthquake struck the east coast of Honshu, Japan, at approximately 2:46 p.m. (Tokyo time), triggering a series of powerful sea waves now known as the “Honshu tsunami.” The Honshu tsunami is believed to have traveled at up to 400 miles per hour as it engulfed entire towns and livelihoods into its waters. The waves expanded across the Pacific ocean, reaching as far as California, Alaska and Hawaii. Watch how the tsunami spread.

What were the results? More than 10,000 deaths were reported and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Homes and businesses literally collapsed or were carried away by massive tidal waves. Power outages have caused transportation delays and suspensions. City officials enforced blackouts to conserve power and Japan’s government has asked citizens not to go to work. Probably the most serious threat is the ongoing nuclear crisis–several nuclear plants were affected Friday, leading to explosions and radiation leaks into surrounding areas.

Photo: (European Pressphoto Agency)

How can you help? The Red Cross and other international relief organizations are asking for monetary donations to support emergency response work in Japan. Food, shelter, clothing and resources are running short–which will make these organizations’ work increasingly challenging in the coming days. You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. Or get more ideas on Act.

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The Red Cross is providing relief to people throughout the areas affected by Japan's earthquake and tsunami.

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