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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scenes of devastation at heart of Japan disaster

REUTERS/Yomiuri

People take shelter at a temporary evacuation center with no electricity Friday night, March 11, 2011 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan AP – People take shelter at a temporary evacuation center with no electricity Friday night, March 11, 2011 …

SENDAI, Japan – Miles from the ocean's edge, weary, mud-spattered survivors wandered streets strewn with fallen trees, crumpled cars, even small airplanes. Relics of lives now destroyed were everywhere — half a piano, a textbook, a soiled red sleeping bag.

On Saturday, one day after a massive tsunami tore through Sendai, residents surveyed the devastation that has laid waste to whole sections of the northern port of 1 million people, 80 miles (128 kilometers) from the epicenter of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that set off one of the worst disasters in Japan's history.

Rescue workers plied boats through murky waters around flooded structures, nosing their way through a sea of detritus, while smoke from at least one large fire billowed in the distance. Power and phone reception was cut, while hundreds of people lined up outside the few still-operating supermarkets for basic necessities. The gas stations on streets not covered with water were swamped with people waiting to fill their cars.

A convenience store three miles (five kilometers) from the shore was open for business Saturday, though there was no power and the floors were covered with a thick layer of grime.

"The flood came in from behind the store and swept around both sides," said shop owner Wakio Fushima. "Cars were flowing right by."

With most other stores closed, a steady flow of customers stocked up on drinks and instant noodles, knowing it would be a long time before life returns to anything like normal. Some recalled how they cheated death as the massive waves swept some 6 miles (10 kilometers) inland. An unknown number of others perished.

Police said they found 200 to 300 bodies washed up on nearby beaches, but authorities are only now getting a look at the extent of the devastation in Sendai and along the coast.

Rail operators lost contact with four trains running on coastal lines Friday and still had not found them Saturday afternoon, Kyodo News agency reported. The East Japan Railway Co. said it did not know how many people were aboard.

To the south in Iwaki city, Keiko Komaki and her daughter were on their way to an evacuation center.

"We are still getting a lot of aftershocks," she said. "It's very frightening. People are panicking, shivering in the cold."

Click image to see photos of quake, tsunami damage


AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbum, Kenji Shimizu

Many area residents spent the night outdoors, or wandering debris-strewn streets, unable to return to homes damaged or destroyed by the quake or tsunami. Those who did find a place to rest for the night awoke to scenes of utter devastation.

The city's Wakabayashi district, which runs down to the sea, remained a swampy wasteland with murky, waist-high water. Most houses were completely flattened, as if a giant bulldozer had swept through.

Grief-stricken residents searched for their former homes, but as they stood in the dark water looking for some sort of landmark, many couldn't even tell where they were. Amid the scattered, splintered remnants of wood, metal and glass, occasionally there was something recognizable — a chair, a tire or a beer cooler.

Workers at an electronics store gave away batteries, flashlights and phone chargers. Several dozen people waited patiently outside as a steady stream of aftershocks shook the city.

From a distance, the store appeared to have survived the devastation intact. But a closer look revealed windows smashed out and walls slightly buckled.

Inside was chaos. The ceiling of the second floor had collapsed, and large TVs, air conditioners and other products lay smashed and strewn about the aisles.

Pieces of bright yellow insulation from the ceiling lay scattered on the ground, and the contents of the entire building were soaked by the automatic sprinklers that were triggered by the quake.

"Things were shaking so much we couldn't stand up," said Hiroyuki Kamada, who was working in the store when the initial quake hit. "After three or four minutes it lessened a bit and we dashed outside."

In the city's dock area, cars swept away by the waves sat on top of buildings, on the top of other cars, or jammed into staircases.

Most buildings out of range of the tsunami appeared to have survived the quake without much damage, though some older wooden structures were toppled. Paved roads had buckled in some places.

Cell phone saleswoman Naomi Ishizawa, 24, was working when the quake hit in the mid afternoon. She said it took until nightfall to reach her house just outside Sendai and check on her parents, who were both OK. Her family's home was still standing, but the walls of a bedroom and bathroom had collapsed and debris was strewn throughout.

And yet, she was lucky. The tsunami's inland march stopped just short of her residence; other houses in her neighborhood were totally destroyed.

Like many people throughout Japan's northeast, she had not heard from others in her family and was worried.

"My uncle and his family live in an area near the shore where there were a lot of deaths," Ishizawa said. "We can't reach them."

Huge Japan quake spawns tsunami Slideshow:Huge Japan quake spawns tsunami


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_earthquake_devastation

Yemen police fire on protests; 3 killed


A Yemeni girl gestures during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 11, 201 AP – A Yemeni girl gestures during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah …

SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security forces fired live bullets and tear gas on two pro-democracy demonstrations Saturday, killing three people — including a 15-year-old student — as the government clamps down on a growing protest movement, witnesses said.

The violence began with a pre-dawn raid on a central square in the capital, Sanaa, where thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been camped out for the past month to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. An ally in the Obama's administration's fight against al-Qaida, Saleh has been in power for 32 years.

Doctors and eyewitnesses said security troops surrounded the square with police cars and armored personnel carriers shortly after midnight and began calling on protesters through loudspeakers to go home. At 5 a.m., security forces stormed in, firing tear gas and live ammunition.

One protester died from a bullet to the head, which may have come from a sniper on the rooftop of a nearby building, witnesses said. Abdelwahed al-Juneid, a volunteer doctor working with the protesters, said around 250 people were wounded.

"We were performing dawn prayers when we were surprised by a sudden hail of bullets and tear gas," said Walid Hassan, a 25-year-old activist. "The protesters began throwing rocks at security ... it was total mayhem, a real battlefield."

A few hours later, another protester was shot dead in a nearby street. Eyewitnesses said he was also shot by a sniper, but that could not be independently confirmed. Security officials did not have any immediate comment.

In the port city of Mukalla in the southeastern province of Hadramout, a 15-year-old was shot dead when security troops opened fire on protesters. Twelve people were wounded in similar violence in Yemen's southern province of Taiz.

Yemen's president of 32 years appeared to be one of the Arab leaders most threatened by the regional unrest inspired by pro-democracy revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. Demonstrators are demanding jobs and greater political freedoms. Saleh has tried to calm protesters by proposing that the government create a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of parliament and the judiciary — but protesters have said it's too little, too late.

Saturday's raid on the Sanaa square came after Yemen's largest demonstrations in a month Friday were met by police gunfire that injured at least six protesters and seemed certain to fuel more anger against the deeply unpopular president.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Yemen's four largest provinces, ripping down and burning Saleh's portraits in Sheikh Othman, the most populated district in the southern port city of Aden, witnesses said. In the capital, thousands of women participated in demonstrations — a startling move in a deeply tribal society where women are expected to stay out of sight.

By Friday evening, protesters in Sanaa had expanded the area of their sit-in encampment, further angering authorities and leading to clashes with plainclothes security men. Protesters said the men were carrying sticks, knives and iron rods. Four protesters were injured, witnesses said.

Yemen was chaotic even before the demonstrations began, with a resurgent al-Qaida, a separatist movement in the south and a sporadic Shiite rebellion in the north vexing the government, which has little control outside major urban areas.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen

Libyan rebels lose oil port, but vow to regroup


In this photo taken during a government-organised visit for foreign media, a pro-Gadhafi soldier indicates to photographers to stop taking pictures an AP – In this photo taken during a government-organised visit for foreign media, a pro-Gadhafi soldier indicates …

AJDABIYA, Libya – Moammar Gadhafi's regime drove out pockets of rebel fighters who were keeping a tenuous hold around oil facilities in a key port city, showing growing strength Saturday after days of relentless shelling against protesters-turned-rebels.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Younis, who was the country's interior minister before he defected to the rebel side, acknowledged Saturday that Gadhafi's forces now control both the town and the oil refinery in Ras Lanouf, 380 miles (615 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Tripoli. It was the latest setback for opposition forces who just a week ago held the entire eastern half of the country and were charging toward the capital.

But Younis vowed a comeback, saying "we should be back today or at the latest tomorrow."

The assault on Ras Lanouf in recent days was a sign the Gadhafi camp had regrouped after it first seemed to reel in confusion for the much of the uprising that began Feb. 15. With Gadhafi's men on the march against rebels, the international community appeared in disarray over how to stop the bloodshed.

Arab foreign ministers were meeting in Egypt on Saturday to discuss a no-fly zone over Libya to protect the civilian population from the Gadhafi regime's fighter jets. But the Arab League's member states are divided over how to deal with the Libyan crisis, signaling it would be a tough debate.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also will be in Cairo on Saturday to meet with leaders of the Arab League.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said a no-fly zone remains a possibility as "we are slowly tightening the noose" around Gadhafi, but he stopped short of moving toward military action.

He cited actions already taken, including getting American citizens and embassy workers out of the country, slapping tough United Nations sanctions on Libya and seizing $30 billion in Gadhafi's assets.

The European Union, meanwhile, said a no-fly zone would need diplomatic backing from international organizations like the Arab League.

Government forces also recaptured the strategic town of Zawiya, near Tripoli, on Friday. Zawiya's main square, which had been a key center of resistance to the west of the capital, bore the scars of battle and the streets were lined with tanks as loyalists waving green flags rallied amid a heavy presence of uniformed pro-Gadhafi troops and snipers. There was talk of rebel bodies having been bulldozed away, and the dome and minaret of the nearby mosque were demolished.

The capture of Zawiya, a coastal city of about 200,000 people that is located near an oil port and refineries, seals off a corridor around the capital and solidifies the government's control over the western third of the country to the border with Tunisia. The government still faced a rebel challenge in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli.

The government had claimed victory in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, on Wednesday, but the rebels who are seeking to oust Gadhafi said fighting was ongoing.

An Associated Press reporter, who was taken by the government with other journalists into the city on Friday, said the city was clearly in government control, with Libyan soldiers manning tanks and trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns.

Grim evidence of battle was everywhere. A makeshift clinic that had been set up inside the mosque to treat the injured was destroyed and the floor was covered with rubble, shoes and glass while the roof was punctured with a large hole where the dome had been.

The facades of buildings, including banks and hotels overlooking Martyrs' Square, were devastated, the streets were strewn with shattered glass and several palm trees had been burned or uprooted.

A 43-year-old government employee said the shelling of the city started on Friday and was nonstop until Wednesday, the day the government claimed victory.

"Many people were killed on Friday. The youth were marching in the square," he said. "I don't know whom to blame — the leader, the son of the leader, the government or the rebels. It was peaceful. I don't know why this happened. I never imagined that I would see Zawiya, my hometown, like this."

He said at least 24 of the protesters had been buried in the square but the pro-Gadhafi forces had used bulldozers to remove their bodies. The claim couldn't be independently verified, although the area was flattened.

Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Qaid said the death toll was 14, including rebels and army soldiers.

Anti-Gadhafi graffiti that had covered walls during a previous visit by the AP also had been painted over. Green flags and pictures of Gadhafi were wrapped around some buildings.

Zawiya's fall to the opposition about a week into the uprising illustrated the initial, blazing progress of the movement that started with protests in the east and escalated into an armed rebellion. But Gadhafi has seized the momentum, battering opponents with airstrikes and artillery fire.

___

AP writer Maggie Michael contributed to this report from Tripoli, Libya.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_af/af_libya

Tsunami damage minimal in Latin America


People look out to sea from a hill top after an alert of tsunami was launched in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile, Friday, March 11, 2011. Islanders an AP – People look out to sea from a hill top after an alert of tsunami was launched in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, …

LIMA, Peru – Ports and beaches were temporarily shut and islanders and coastal residents ordered to higher ground up and down Latin America's Pacific seaboard before the tsunami surge triggered by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan. But it did little damage.

By the time the tsunami waves traveled across the wide Pacific Ocean and into the southern hemisphere, only slightly higher waters than normal came ashore in Mexico, Honduras and Colombia, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, Chile's Easter Island and Peru and Chile's mainlands.

Waves as high as 6 feet (almost 2 meters) crashed into South America into early Saturday_ in some cases sending the Pacific surging into streets — after coastal dwellers rushed to close ports and schools and evacuated several hundred thousand people.

Major evacuations were ordered in Ecuador and Chile, where hundreds of thousands of people moved out of low-lying coastal areas. After the devastating tsunami that Chile suffered following its major quake just over a year ago, authorities weren't taking any chances.

Still, the danger waned as the day progressed and minimal damage was reported.

Heavy swells rolled through the port and marinas of the Baja California resort of Cabo San Lucas, rocking boats at anchor, but they did not top seawalls or bring any reports of damage.

Mexican officials closed the major cargo port of Manzanillo and officials said some cargo ships and a cruise liner had decided to delay entering ports to avoid possible problems from any rough water. Classes were suspended at some low-lying schools in the resort city of Acapulco, and officials urged people to stay away from beaches.

Officials in the Central American nation of Honduras said waves along its coast were little changed from the normal three feet (about a meter) and they lifted the country's tsunami alert at 7 p.m. Friday (0100 GMT Saturday).

On Chile's Easter Island, in the remote South Pacific about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) west of the capital of Santiago, residents and tourists moved to high ground, evacuating the only town, Hanga Roa.

But the tsunami rolled in at low tide Friday evening, causing no damage. Islanders watching the sea from higher ground could see nothing unusual, former governor Sergio Rapu said by telephone.

The minimal impact on Chile's westernmost territory was welcome news for the South America's mainland. By the time the tsunami swells reached coastal communities, they had long lost their punch.

In Peru, the Education Ministry closed schools for thousands of children in coastal areas, where 55 percent of the country's 28 million people live. Authorities also closed beaches popular with tourists, including Lima's "Costa Verde." Dozens evacuated their homes in flood-prone areas of Callao, the port adjacent to Lima, and the capital's coastal highway was shut down..

But when the tsunami arrived, it topped out in Lima at 3 1/2 feet (just over 1 meter), said Luis Palomino, chief of Peru's Civil Defense Institute.

Dozens of spectators gathered on the cliffs of Lima's Miraflores district to watch but the rise in water proved almost imperceptible. But at a beach just south of Lima, the ocean receded about 100 yards (90 meters) and surged back twice in 15 minutes.

Civil defense officials and police reported such surges in several towns along the coast.

One of the biggest scares with in the San Andres section of Pisco, a town two hours south of Lima that an earthquake ravaged in August 2007. The Pacific surged some 180 feet (60 meters) inland but no serious damage was reported. Police said residents of the area had evacuated their homes.

Some of the strongest preventative action was taken by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who declared a state of emergency and ordered people on the Galapagos Islands and the coast of the mainland to seek higher ground.

He ordered schools closed and said the military would guard property. Ecuador also suspended oil exports and halted operations at its La Libertad refinery near the ocean, though its main refinery continued to function.

The Galapagos, like Easter Island a UNESCO protected world heritage site, is an archipelago about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) off Ecuador's coast where about 15,000 people fish and serve the tourism trade. Friday, the seas there progressively grew after a series of initially low swells, and police said the tsunami flooded a low-lying area of Santz Cruz Island more than a quarter-mile (500 meters) inland without causing serious damage. There was also flooding on another larger island, San Cristobal.

Ecuador's oceanographic institute said waves likely would exceed six feet (two meters) along the mainland coast as the tsunami traveled about 300 mph (480 kph).

Correa said earlier that the 242,000 people who were evacuated from low-lying areas, most of them on the mainland, would be kept on higher ground until officials determined it was safe.

Chile also evacuated hundreds of thousands from areas vulnerable to coastal flooding, and refused to let residents go home even when the tsunami clearly lost steam. With last year's 524 quake- and tsunami-related deaths weighing heavily on everyone's minds, Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter insisted on "prudence."

State television showed empty streets in a half-dozen coastal cities being patrolled by soldiers to guard against looters and ensure residents stayed away.

When Chile's magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck a year ago, navy and emergency preparedness officials mistakenly told people there was no tsunami danger, and many people who might have escaped with enough warning were caught in the massive waves.

  • Moment Japan quake struck in supermarket Play Video Earthquakes Video:Moment Japan quake struck in supermarket AFP
  • Raw video: Smoke pours from Japan nuclear plant Play Video Earthquakes Video:Raw video: Smoke pours from Japan nuclear plant AP
  • ___

    Federico Quilodran in Santiago; Mark Stevenson in Mexico City; Carla Salazar and Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru; Diego Mendez in San Salvador, El Salvador, and Marianela Jimenez in San Jose, Costa Rica, contributed to this report.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_pacific_tsunami_americas

    As protests roil neighbors, Saudis quash rallies


    An anti-government protestor reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, AP – An anti-government protestor reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President …

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A massive show of force by Saudi Arabia's government snuffed out a Facebook-based effort to stage unprecedented pro-democracy protests in the capital on Friday, but political unrest and sectarian tensions roiled neighboring Yemen and Bahrain.

    Yemen's largest demonstrations in a month were met by police gunfire that left at least six protesters injured and seemed certain to fuel more anger against the deeply unpopular U.S.-allied president.

    In Bahrain, a conflict deepened between the island kingdom's Shiite majority and its Sunni Muslim royal family, whose security forces and pro-government mobs attacked demonstrators with tear gas, rocks and swords. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the tiny country, the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, to reassure its rulers of unwavering U.S. support, officials said.

    With uprisings threatening allies on its eastern and southern flanks, the Sunni Saudi monarchy appeared to be taking no chances in its effort to keep the popular push for democracy in the Arab world from spreading to the world's largest crude oil exporter.

    In the heavily Shiite eastern Saudi province, hundreds of protesters marched in at least four different locations, calling for the release of political prisoners and demanding reform.

    In the city of Qatif, not far from Bahrain, armored personnel carriers and dozens of officers in riot gear surrounded several hundred demonstrators shouting calls for reforms and equality between the sects. Police opened fire in the city to disperse a protest late Thursday in an incident that left three protesters and one officer wounded, but there was no repeat of that violence.

    In a video posted on social networking websites, a helicopter hovered over a few hundreds male protesters in a small street in the town of al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province. Protesters chanted: "The people want justice and equality." It was not possible to independently confirm the footage.

    Yemen's president of 32 years appeared to be one of the Arab leaders most threatened by the regional unrest inspired by pro-democracy revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

    Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Yemen's four largest provinces, ripping down and burning President Ali Abdullah Saleh's portraits in Sheikh Othman, the most populated district in the southern port city of Aden, witnesses said.

    Security forces hurled tear gas into crowds close to a stadium and then opened fire, using machine guns mounted on vehicles, said eyewitness Sind Abdullah, 25.

    In the conservative capital, Sanaa, thousands of women participated in demonstrations — a startling move in a deeply tribal society where women are expected to stay out of sight.

    Demonstrators demanded jobs and greater political freedom and decried Saleh's proposal Thursday that the government create a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of parliament and the judiciary, calling it too little and too late.

    The autocratic leader is also an ally in the Obama adminstration's push to eliminate the local branch of al-Qaida, which has attempted to attack the United States. He has also worked closely with the Saudis to quash his own Shiite uprising in the north.

    In the Saudi capital, security forces who took up positions on corners and intersections as at least one helicopter buzzed overhead. Police blocked roads and set up random checkpoints, searching residents and vehicles around a central mosque as large numbers of people gathered for Friday prayers.

    Government minders escorted journalists around the city, where they were shown a man, who gave his name as Khaled al-Juhni, standing outside a government building, shouting calls for more freedoms.

    Police and journalists watched as the man criticized the regime as a "police state" and "a big prison" before he got in his car and left.

    A government official said security measures around state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco and its oil facilities in the east were beefed up protectively in case of any violence. The company is based in the Dhahran district on the kingdom's eastern coast.

    Investors are sensitive to any sign of upheaval in Saudi Arabia because the OPEC leader has been using its spare capacity to make up for output lost amid the violent uprising against Libya's government. When news broke that Saudi Arabian police fired shots to break up the protest Thursday, prices soared $3 in just 12 minutes.

    Shiites make up 10 percent of the kingdom's 23 million citizens and have long complained of discrimination, saying they are barred from key positions in the military and government and are not given an equal share of the country's wealth.

    Last month, the ultraconservative Saudi government announced an unprecedented economic package worth an estimated $36 billion that will give Saudis interest-free home loans, unemployment assistance and debt forgiveness.

    At the same time, it reiterated that demonstrations are forbidden in the kingdom.

    So far, any demonstrations have been small, concentrated in the east among Shiites demanding the release of detainees. But activists set up Facebook groups calling for protests in Riyadh and one group garnered more than 30,000 supporters of its demands for free elections.

    ___

    Al-Haj reported from Sanaa, Yemen. Diaa Hadid, Zeina Karam and Michael Weissenstein in Cairo contributed to this report.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110311/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_saudi_protests

    Radiation down at Japan nuke plant after blast

    AP Photo/NTV Japan via APTN

    A man snaps a picture of the aftermath of tsunami following Friday's massive tsunami triggered by a powerful earthquake in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, AP – A man snaps a picture of the aftermath of tsunami following Friday's massive tsunami triggered by a powerful …

    TOKYO – Japan's government spokesman says the metal container sheltering a nuclear reactor was not affected by an explosion that destroyed the building it's in.

    Yukio Edano says the radiation around the plant did not rise after the blast but instead is decreasing. He added that pressure in the reactor was also decreasing.

    Pressure and heat have been building at the nuclear reactor since an earthquake and tsunami Friday caused its cooling system to fail.

    An explosion Saturday blew out the walls of the building housing the reactor. The government has ordered people within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius of the plant in Fukushima to evacuate the area.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

    IWAKI, Japan (AP) — An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor amid fears that it could melt down after being hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.

    Large amounts of radiation were spewing out and the evacuation area around the plant was expanded but officials did not know how dangerous the leak was to people. Shinji Kinjo, a spokesman for the Japanese nuclear agency, could not say how much radiation was in the atmosphere or how hot the reactor was following the failure of its cooling system.

    Friday's double disaster, which pulverized Japan's northeastern coast, has left 574 people dead by official count, although local media reports said at least 1,300 people may have been killed.

    Tokyo Power Electric Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said four workers had suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital. A nuclear expert said a meltdown may not pose widespread danger.

    Footage on Japanese TV showed that the walls of the reactor's building had crumbled, leaving only a skeletal metal frame standing. Puffs of smoke were spewing out of the plant in Fukushima, 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Iwaki.

    Click image to see photos of quake, tsunami damage


    AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbum, Kenji Shimizu

    "We are now trying to analyze what is behind the explosion," said government spokesman Yukio Edano, stressing that people should quickly evacuate a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius. "We ask everyone to take action to secure safety."

    The trouble began at the plant's Unit 1 after the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami it spawned knocked out power there. According to official figures, 586 people are missing and 1,105 injured. In addition, police said between 200 and 300 bodies were found along the coast in Sendai, the biggest city in the area near the quake's epicenter.

    The true scale of the destruction was still not known more than 24 hours after the quake since washed-out roads and shut airports have hindered access to the area. An untold number of bodies were believed to be buried in the rubble and debris.

    In another disturbing development that could substantially raise the death toll, Kyodo news agency said rail operators lost contact with four trains running on coastal lines on Friday and still had not found them by Saturday afternoon.

    East Japan Railway Co. said it did not know how many people were aboard the trains.

    Adding to worries was the fate of nuclear power plants. Japan has declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability.

    The most troubled one, Fukushima Dai-ichi, is facing meltdown, officials have said.

    A "meltdown" is not a technical term. Rather, it is an informal way of referring to a very serious collapse of a power plant's systems and its ability to manage temperatures. It is not immediately clear if a meltdown would cause serious radiation risk, and if it did how far the risk would extend.

    Yaroslov Shtrombakh, a Russian nuclear expert, said a Chernobyl-style meltdown was unlikely.

    "It's not a fast reaction like at Chernobyl," he said. "I think that everything will be contained within the grounds, and there will be no big catastrophe."

    In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe.

    Pressure has been building up in Fukushima reactor — it's now twice the normal level — and Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told reporters Saturday that the plant was venting "radioactive vapors." Officials said they were measuring radiation levels in the area. Wind in the region is weak and headed northeast, out to sea, according to the Meteorological Agency.

    The reactor in trouble has already leaked some radiation: Before the explosion, operators had detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1's control room.

    Also before the blast, Ryohei Shiomi, a nuclear official, said that each hour the plant was releasing the amount of radiation a person normally absorbs in a year.

    The evacuation area around the plant was expanded to a radius of 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the six miles (10 kilometers) before. People in the expanded area were advised to leave quickly; 51,000 residents were previously evacuated.

    "Everyone wants to get out of the town. But the roads are terrible," said Reiko Takagi, a middle-aged woman, standing outside a taxi company. "It is too dangerous to go anywhere. But we are afraid that winds may change and bring radiation toward us."

    Meanwhile, the first wave of military rescuers began arriving by boats and helicopters.

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said 50,000 troops would join rescue and recovery efforts following the quake that unleashed one of the greatest disasters Japan has witnessed — a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami that washed far inland over fields, smashing towns, airports and highways in its way.

    "Most of houses along the coastline were washed away, and fire broke out there," said Kan after inspecting the quake area in a helicopter. "I realized the extremely serious damage the tsunami caused."

    More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five prefectures, or states, the national police agency said. Since the quake, more than 1 million households have not had water, mostly concentrated in northeast.

    The transport ministry said all highways from Tokyo leading to quake-hit areas were closed, except for emergency vehicles. Mobile communications were spotty and calls to the devastated areas were going unanswered .

    Local TV stations broadcast footage of people lining up for water and food such as rice balls. In Fukushima, city officials were handing out bottled drinks, snacks and blankets. But there were large areas that were surrounded by water and were unreachable.

    One hospital in Miyagi prefecture was seen surrounded by water. The staff had painted an SOS on its rooftop and were waving white flags.

    Kan said a total of 190 military aircraft and 25 ships have been sent to the area, which continued to be jolted by tremors, even 24 hours later.

    More than 125 aftershocks have occurred, many of them above magnitude 6.0, which alone would be considered strong.

    Technologically advanced Japan is well prepared for quakes and its buildings can withstand strong jolts, even a temblor like Friday's, which was the strongest the country has experienced since official records started in the late 1800s. What was beyond human control was the killer tsunami that followed.

    It swept inland about six miles (10 kilometers) in some areas, swallowing boats, homes, cars, trees and everything else.

    "The tsunami was unbelievably fast," said Koichi Takairin, a 34-year-old truck driver who was inside his sturdy four-ton rig when the wave hit the port town of Sendai.

    "Smaller cars were being swept around me," he said. All I could do was sit in my truck."

    His rig ruined, he joined the steady flow of survivors who walked along the road away from the sea and back into the city on Saturday. Smoke from at least one large fire could be seen in the distance.

    Smashed cars and small airplanes were jumbled up against buildings near the local airport, several miles (kilometers) from the shore. Felled trees and wooden debris lay everywhere as rescue workers coasted on boats through murky waters around flooded structures, nosing their way through a sea of debris.

    Basic commodities were at a premium. Hundreds lined up outside of supermarkets, and gas stations were swamped with cars. The situation was similar in scores of other towns and cities along the 1,300-mile-long (2,100-kilometer-long) eastern coastline hit by the tsunami.

    In Sendai, as in many areas of the northeast, cell phone service was down, making it difficult for people to communicate with loved ones.

    President Barack Obama pledged U.S. assistance following what he called a potentially "catastrophic" disaster. He said one U.S. aircraft carrier was already in Japan and a second was on its way. A U.S. ship was also heading to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed, he said.

    Japan's worst previous quake was a magnitude 8.3 temblor in Kanto that killed 143,000 people in 1923, according to the USGS. A magnitude 7.2 quake in Kobe killed 6,400 people in 1995.

    Japan lies on the "Ring of Fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching around the Pacific where about 90 percent of the world's quakes occur, including the one that triggered the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 countries. A magnitude-8.8 quake that shook central Chile in February 2010 also generated a tsunami and killed 524 people.

  • Huge Japan quake spawns tsunami Slideshow:Huge Japan quake spawns tsunami
  • Pictures From the Disaster in the Pacific Play Video Video:Pictures From the Disaster in the Pacific ABC News
  • ___

    Kageyama reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Malcolm J. Foster, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomoko A. Hosaka and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo and Jay Alabaster in Sendai also contributed.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_japan_earthquake

    Gempa Bumi Kuat Di Perairan Timur Honshu, Jepun

    PENDUDUK mengharungi sisa runtuhan untuk mencari perlindungan di Sendai, utara Jepun pada Sabtu selepas berdepan bencana gempa bumi terburuk di negara itu sejak 140 tahun lalu pada Jumaat. - Foto AP.


    Published: Sabtu Mac 12, 2011 MYT 11:31:00 AM
    Updated: Sabtu Mac 12, 2011 MYT 11:32:48 AM

    KUALA LUMPUR: Satu gempa bumi kuat berukuran 6.5 pada skala Richter di perairan timur Honshu, Jepun pada pukul 9.47 pagi Sabtu.

    Menurut kenyataan Jabatan Meteorologi Malaysia, pusat gempa bumi adalah di 292 km dari timur laut Tokyo dan 4,243 km dari timur laut Kudat di Sabah.

    Gempa bumi itu tidak membawa ancaman tsunami kepada Malaysia dan jabatan sedang memantau perkembangan berkenaan. - BERNAMA


    http://www.mstar.com.my/berita/cerita.asp?file=/2011/3/12/mstar_berita/20110312113007&sec=mstar_berita

    Kemusnahan Akibat Gempa Bumi Dan Tsunami Lebih Ketara

    Sabtu Mac 12, 2011

    TOKYO: Sebaik saja fajar menyingsing, kemusnahan dahsyat akibat gempa bumi berukuran 8.9 pada skala Richter dan tsunami setinggi 10 meter yang melanda Jepun tengah hari Jumaat, menjadi lebih ketara -- lebih 1,000 dikhuatiri maut.

    Polis dan media tempatan mula melaporkan kemusnahan dahsyat yang berlaku di Tohoku atau timur laut Jepun, dengan Sendai paling teruk menerima kesannya kerana terletak paling hampir dengan pusat gempa yang berlaku pada pukul 2.46 petang (1.46 tengah hari waktu Malaysia) itu.

    Siaran televisyen memaparkan visual tentang kawasan kediaman dan ladang yang ditenggelami air serta kenderaan yang dihanyutkan.

    Sementara itu, satu lagi gempa bumi berukuran 6.7 pada skala Richter berlakupada pukul 3.59 pagi tadi (2.59 pagi waktu Malaysia), yang menggegarkan kawasan pantai Laut Jepun di barat laut Tokyo, melibatkan wilayah Nagano dan Niigata.

    Bagaimanapun, setakat ini, sejauh mana kemusnahan yang diakibatkan gempa terbaru yang berlaku di kawasan berkenaan, yang terletak jauh dari kawasan yang dilanda malapetaka dahsyat Jumaat, belum diketahui.

    Di samping berita tentang kemusnahan dan usaha menyelamat yang menjadi tumpuan pelbagai pihak sekarang, satu lagi perkara yang mencetuskan kebimbangan ialah kemungkinan berlaku kebocoran radiasi pada reaktor nuklear yang terletak di wilayah Fukushima, lebih kurang 240km di utara bandar raya ini.

    Sementara itu, kedutaan Malaysia di sini menyatakan pihaknya telah menghubungi warga Malaysia, termasuk pelajar yang tinggal di kawasan yang paling teruk dilanda gempa bumi itu.

    Sehingga pukul 6 pagi Sabtu (5 pagi waktu Malaysia), kedutaan itu telah menghubungi 289 warga Malaysia yang tinggal di wilayah yang dilanda gempa bumi dan tsunami semalam.

    Ia juga berhubung dengan rakyat Malaysia dari wilayah lain, yang kurang terjejas oleh bencana alam itu.

    "Setakat ini, kesemua mereka selamat dan tiada rakyat Malaysia dilaporkan mengalami kemalangan jiwa. Rakyat Malaysia yang berada di kawasan paling teruk terjejas juga telah berpindah ke kawasan selamat yang disediakan pihak berkuasa Jepun," kata Kementerian Luar Malaysia dalam kenyataan yang dikeluarkan di Kuala Lumpur.

    Sebahagian lebuh raya ke Lapangan Terbang Narita yang ditutup sebelum ini atas faktor keselamatan, telah dibuka semula.

    Satu penerbangan Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH89, yang pada asalnya dijadualkan berlepas dari lapangan terbang itu pada pukul 10.30 pagi (9.30 pagi waktu Malaysia) hari ini, ditunda ke pukul 1.30 tengah hari (12.30 tengah hari waktu Malaysia), manakala penerbangan MH71, yang dijadualkan berlepas pada pukul 1.30 tengah hari, akan berlepas pada pukul 9 pagi (8 pagi di Malaysia), Ahad.

    Sehingga tengah hari Sabtu, perkhidmatan bas biasa antara Lapangan Terbang Narita dan Tokyo belum disambung semula dan beberapa hotel menyewa bas untuk kegunaan tetamu mereka.

    Kebanyakan perkhidmatan tren bawah tanah mula kembali seperti biasa dan ini memudahkan pergerakan sebahagian besar daripada 12 juta penduduk Tokyo serta mereka dari bandar lain.

    Landasan tren bawah tanah ditutup selama hampir enam jam dan menyebabkan berjuta-juta penumpang terkandas. - BERNAMA


    http://mstar.com.my/berita/cerita.asp?file=/2011/3/12/mstar_berita/20110312133456&sec=mstar_berita

    Kereta api penumpang ghaib

    ROSAK TERUK...kapal nelayan dan kereta terapung-apung di Pelabuhan Onamaha di Iwaki, Fukushima, selepas dihanyutkan ombak besar, semalam.
    ROSAK TERUK...kapal nelayan dan kereta terapung-apung di Pelabuhan Onamaha di Iwaki, Fukushima, selepas dihanyutkan ombak besar, semalam.

    TOKYO: Sebuah kereta api yang membawa penumpang masih gagal dikesan selepas hilang ketika gempa bumi melanda timur laut Jepun, semalam.

    Menurut sumber, kereta api itu melalui kawasan pantai Jepun apabila ia gagal dikesan.


    Memetik sumber polis, agensi berita Kyodo melaporkan, kereta api penumpang itu dikendalikan Syarikat East Japan Railway.

    • Foto

      JALANKAN PEMERIKSAAN...seorang petugas memeriksa kerosakan Lebuh Raya Joban berhampiran Mito, Ibaraki.

    • Foto

      RUGI BESAR...orang ramai melihat kerosakan kediaman mereka di Sukagawa, wilayah Fukushima, semalam.

    Ketika kejadian, kereta api itu berada berhampiran stesen Nobiru di landasan menghubungkan Sendai dengan Ishinomaki.


    Sementara itu, polis Jepun berkata, pihak berkuasa menemui 200 hingga 300 mayat di kawasan pantai timur laut negara itu selepas kawasan berkenaan dilanda tsunami, semalam.


    Sumber berkata, kebanyakan mayat itu ditemui di Sendai, bandar utama paling hampir dengan pusat gempa bumi petang semalam.

    Gempa sekuat 8.9 magnitud itu mencetuskan tsunami sehingga 10 meter, diikuti lebih 50 gegaran susulan selama beberapa jam.


    Kebanyakan gegaran susulan itu sekuat lebih 6.0 magnitud.

    Berpuluh-puluh bandar dan perkampungan di sepanjang 2,100 kilometer di timur negara itu turut merasai gegaran berkenaan.


    Kesan gempa turut dirasai di Tokyo yang terletak beratus-ratus kilometer dari pusat gegaran.


    Sebelum ini, polis mengesahkan sekurang-kurangnya 60 orang terbunuh dan 56 lagi hilang.


    Bagaimanapun, jumlah sebenar korban dijangka terus meningkat dari semasa ke semasa apabila kerja-kerja mengesan dan menyelamat dilaksanakan sepenuhnya. - AP


    http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/Keretaapipenumpangghaib/Article

    300 terkorban

    300 terkorban

    pix_middle

    TOKYO: Gempa paling kuat melanda Jepun semalam membentuk tsunami setinggi 10 meter dan menghanyutkan rumah serta menolak kapal ke darat.

    Bencana terburuk dalam tempoh 300 tahun di Jepun itu turut mencetuskan kebakaran, termasuk di sebuah loji nuklear.

    • Foto

      MUSNAH...ada antara kenderaan awam rosak apabila terhumban ke dalam jurang akibat laluan di situ runtuh.

    • Foto

      TAK DAPAT DISELAMATKAN...runtuhan rumah dan kereta dihanyutkan ke laut selepas ombak besar melanda bandar Kesennuma.

    • Foto

      DUA KALI BENCANA...sebahagian daripada rumah di Natori terbakar selepas dilanda tsunami.

    Sehingga malam tadi, sekurang-kurangnya 300 orang disenaraikan sebagai maut atau hilang akibat gempa bumi sekuat 8.9 magnitud itu.

    Pakar seismologi Amerika Syarikat (AS) dan Jepun berkata, kejadian semalam adalah gegaran kelima paling dahsyat di seluruh dunia sejak 1900 atau yang ketujuh dalam sejarah.

    Laporan menyatakan, ombak besar tercipta di Lautan Pasifik menghanyutkan sebuah kapal Jepun membawa 100 orang.

    Lebih 300 rumah di bandar Ofunato turut musnah sama sekali.

    Ombak besar juga memusnahkan apa saja yang ada di laluannya, termasuk kapal kontena, kenderaan dan ladang.

    Kerajaan berkata, gempa yang dapat dirasakan sehingga ke Beijing itu menyebabkan kerosakan besar-besaran.

    Di Sendai, imej televisyen menunjukkan ombak berlumpur bergerak ke darat pada kelajuan tinggi dan memusnahkan kawasan kediaman berhampiran Sungai Natori.

    Pegawai kerajaan tempatan di Miyagi, Ken Hoshi berkata, dia tidak pernah melihat bencana seburuk itu.

    Di Tokyo, sejumlah kecederaan dilaporkan apabila bumbung bangunan dewan runtuh ketika majlis penganugerahan ijazah berlangsung.

    Di ibu negara Jepun itu juga, asap dilihat berkepul-kepul di sekurang-kurangnya 10 lokasi ketika penduduknya mengalami gangguan elektrik.

    Pusat Amaran Tsunami Pasifik mengeluarkan amaran tsunami menyeluruh sehingga ke Amerika Selatan, New Zealand dan Hawaii, menyebabkan pihak berkuasa mengarahkan orang ramai menjauhi pantai.

    Pertubuhan Palang Merah pula mengingatkan, tsunami di antara empat dan 10 meter boleh menenggelamkan sebahagian daripada pulau yang ada di laluan ombak itu.

    Sementara itu, kerajaan berkata, tiada sebarang kebocoran radiasi dikesan di loji nuklear di Onagawa walaupun ia terbakar.

    Gempa pertama berlaku hanya kurang dari 400 meter ke timur laut Tokyo, diikuti lebih 40 gegaran susulan.

    Satu daripadanya sekuat 7.1 magnitud.


    Seorang pegawai kerajaan tempatan di Kurihara, Miyagi, berkata gegaran itu sangat kuat sehingga pekerja di situ terpaksa berpaut untuk mengelak daripada jatuh.

    “Kami tak boleh keluar dari bangunan dengan segera kerana gegaran itu berterusan,” katanya.

    Perdana Menteri, Naoto Kan, mengadakan mesyuarat tergempar sejurus selepas bencana itu berlaku dan kerajaan menghantar kapal tentera ke Miyagi untuk memberikan bantuan.

    Gempa bumi itu berlaku pada jam 2.46 petang (1.46 petang waktu Malaysia) selama dua minit.

    Bencana itu turut menyebabkan indeks pasaran saham Nikkei merudum, manakala nilai mata wang yen berbanding dolar AS terjejas teruk. - AFP


    http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/300terkorban/Article

    Japan braces for N-reactor meltdown after tsunami


    A woman cries after learning that her mother was successfully rescued from a building following an earthquake and tsunami in Miyagi Prefecture, northe Reuters – A woman cries after learning that her mother was successfully rescued from a building following an earthquake …

    SENDAI, Japan – Japan launched a massive, military-led rescue operation Saturday after a giant quake and tsunami killed hundreds of people and turned the northeastern coast into a swampy wasteland as authorities braced for a possible meltdown at a nuclear reactor.

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he is sending 50,000 troops for the rescue and recovery efforts following Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake that unleashed one of the greatest disasters Japan has witnessed — a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami that washed far inland over fields, smashing towns, airports and highways in its way.

    The official death toll stood at 413, while 784 people were missing and 1,128 injured. In addition, police said between 200 and 300 bodies were found along the coast in Sendai, the biggest city in the area near the quake's epicenter. An untold number of bodies were also believed to be lying in the rubble and debris. Rescue workers had yet to reach the hardest-hit areas.

    Adding to the worries was the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where two reactors had lost cooling ability.

    Because of the overheating, a meltdown was possible at one of the reactors, said Ryohei Shiomi, an official with Japan's nuclear safety commission.

    But even if there was a meltdown, it wouldn't affect humans outside a six-mile (10-kilometer) radius, he said.

    More than 215,000 people were living in 1,350 temporary shelters in five prefectures, or states, the national police agency said. Since the quake, more than 1 million households have not had water, mostly concentrated in northeast.

    Kan said a total of 190 military planes and 25 ships have been sent to the area.

    "Most of houses along the coastline were washed away, and fire broke out there," he said after inspecting the quake area in a helicopter. "I realized the extremely serious damage the tsunami caused."

    Disaster in the Pacific: Wall of Water Play Video ABC News – Disaster in the Pacific: Wall of Water


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_earthquake

    Calif., Ore. sustained most damage from tsunami


    A boat sinks into the ocean in the aftermath of the surge caused by a tsunami on the harbor in Santa Cruz, Calif., Friday, March 11, 2011. A ferocious AP – A boat sinks into the ocean in the aftermath of the surge caused by a tsunami on the harbor in Santa …

    CRESCENT CITY, Calif. – The warnings traveled quickly across the Pacific in the middle of the night: An 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan spawned a deadly tsunami, and it was racing east Friday as fast as a jetliner.

    Sirens blared in Hawaii. The West Coast pulled back from the shoreline, fearing the worst. People were warned to stay away from the beaches. Fishermen took their boats out to sea and safety.

    The alerts moved faster than the waves, giving millions of people across the Pacific Rim hours to prepare.

    In the end, harbors and marinas in California and Oregon bore the brunt of the damage, estimated by authorities to be in the millions of dollars.

    Boats crashed into each other, some vessels were pulled out to sea and docks were ripped out. Rescue crews searched hours for a man who was swept out to sea while taking pictures.

    None of the damage — in the U.S., South America or Canada — was anything like the devastation in Japan.

    The warnings — the second major one for the region in a year — and the response showed how far the earthquake-prone Pacific Rim had come since a deadly tsunami caught much of Asia by surprise in 2004.

    "That was a different era," said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. "We got the warning out very quickly. It would not have been possible to do it that fast in 2004."

    Within 10 minutes after Japan was shaken by its biggest earthquake in recorded history, the center had issued its warning. The offshore quake pushed water onto land, sometimes miles inland, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people. Hundreds are dead.

    As the tsunami raced across the Pacific at 500 mph, the first sirens began sounding across Hawaii late Thursday night.

    Police went through the tourist mecca of Waikiki, warning of an approaching tsunami. Hotels moved tourists from lower floors to upper levels. Some tourists ended up spending the night in their cars.

    Across the islands, people stocked up on bottled water, canned foods and toilet paper. Authorities opened buildings to people fleeing low-lying areas. Fishermen took their boats out to sea, away from harbors and marinas where the waves would be most intense.

    Residents did the same last February, when an 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile prompted tsunami warnings. The waves did little damage then.

    Early Friday, the tsunami waves reached Hawaii, tossing boats in Honolulu. The water covered beachfront roads and rushed into hotels on the Big Island. The waves carried a house out to sea. Seven-foot waves flooded low-lying areas in Maui.

    As the sun rose, people breathed a sigh of relief.

    "With everything that could have happened and did happen in Japan, we're just thankful that nothing else happened," said Sabrina Skiles, who along with her husband spent a sleepless night at his office in Maui. Their beachfront house was unscathed.

    Many other Pacific islands also evacuated their shorelines for a time. In Guam, the waves broke two U.S. Navy submarines from their moorings, but tug boats brought them back to their pier.

    In Oregon, the first swells to hit the U.S. mainland were barely noticeable.

    Sirens pierced the air in Seaside, a popular tourist town near the Washington state line. Restaurants, gift shops and other beachfront businesses stayed shuttered.

    Thousands of people in Oregon and hundreds in Washington state fled to higher ground at the approach of the waves, waiting until the all-clear before returning.

    Albert Wood said he and his wife decided to leave their home late Thursday night after watching news about the Japan quake — the fifth-largest earthquake since 1900.

    Wood was expecting the waves to get bigger and more intense than what he saw. Still, he shook his head as the cars lining the hills began to drive west, into the lowlands adjacent to the shore.

    "Just if you ask me, they're being too bold," Wood said. "It's still early. They're just not being cautious."

    Erik Bergman was back at the shore by 9:30 in the morning. Roughly 100 feet away was a man playing with his dog. Two small children chased seagulls.

    "People aren't too nervous," Bergman said.

    President Barack Obama said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to come to the aid of any U.S. state or territory that needed help. Coast Guard cutters and aircraft were readied to respond as soon as conditions allowed.

    Outside Brookings, Ore., just north of the California border, four people went to a beach to watch the waves and were swept into the sea. Two got out on their own, and the others were rescued, authorities said.

    Brookings harbor saw the worst reported damage in the state with half the facility destroyed and 10 boats sunk, Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said.

    "The port is in total disarray," he said.

    In Crescent City, Calif., miles to the south, the Coast Guard suspended their hours-long search at dark for a man who was swept out to sea. He was taking photos near the mouth of the Klamath River. Two people with him jumped in to rescue him. They were able to get back to land, authorities said.

    Sheriff's deputies went door to door at dawn to urge residents to seek higher ground.

    An 8-foot wave rushed into the harbor, destroying about 35 boats and ripping chunks off the wooden docks, as marina workers and fishermen scrambled between surges to secure property. Officials estimated millions of dollars in damage.

    When the water returned, someone would yell "Here comes another one!" to clear the area.

    Ted Scott, a retired mill worker who lived in the city when a 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, including 11 in Crescent City, watched the water pour into the harbor.

    "This is just devastating. I never thought I'd see this again," he said. "I watched the docks bust apart. It buckled like a graham cracker."

    The waves, however, had not made it over a 20-foot break wall protecting the rest of the city. No serious injuries were immediately reported.

    On the central coast in Santa Cruz, loose fishing boats crashed into one another and docks broke away from the shore. The water rushed out as quickly as it poured in, leaving the boats tipped over in mud.

    Some surfers ignored evacuation warnings before they were lifted and took advantage of the waves ahead of the tsunami.

    "The tides are right, the swell is good, the weather is good, the tsunami is there," said William Hill, an off-duty California trooper. "We're going out."

    Scientists warned that the first tsunami waves are not always the strongest. The threat can last for several hours and people should watch out for strong currents.

    U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Ken Hudnut said residents along the coast should heed any calls for evacuation.

    "Do the right thing," Hudnut said. "Be safe."

    Raw Video: Tsunami waves reach Hawaii Play Video AP – Raw Video: Tsunami waves reach Hawaii

    ___

    Associated Press writers contributing to this report include Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu, Janie McCauley on the Big Island, Denise Petski and Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles, Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, Calif., Garance Burke in San Francisco, Kathy McCarthy in Seattle, Nigel Duara in Seaside, Ore., Jeff Barnard in Crescent City, Calif., Tim Fought in Portland, Ore., Rob Gillies in Toronto, Alicia Chang in Pasadena, Calif., Terry Tang, Michelle Price and Carson Walker in Phoenix. Mark Niesse contributed from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Song reported from Honolulu.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_japan_earthquake_pacific;_ylt=AlXsrGXPiuuyP0LHuG2IqwAV6w8F;_ylu=X3oDMTNhZTA3c282BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwMzEyL3VzX2phcGFuX2VhcnRocXVha2VfcGFjaWZpYwRjY29kZQNwemJ1cgRjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzEEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNjYWxpZm9yZXN1c3Q-

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