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Japan's 8.9 Earthquake Causes Tsunamis and Destruction, Airport and Train Closures

Where: Japan
March 11, 2011 at 10:52 AM | by | ()

Last night, or after lunch if you were in Tokyo, a massive 8.9 earthquake hit off the western coast of Japan, causing a rolling of the earth felt though many cities, including Tokyo. The event also produced tsunami waves, which have caused immense destruction in Japan and are currently hitting Hawaii, though no damage has been reported there.

We've glued to our computer, watching tsunami videos as helicopters filmed it live. Watch them here and take a moment to reflect on the fragility of this Earth. We also bet you're on information overload, as are we, so here's what you need to know, straight from the news:

· Tokyo-Narita Airport was closed to air traffic earlier, but it's being reported that they are slowly re-opening after verifying that everything is working properly. Tokyo-Haneda is open, but with limited capacity. Some of the Narita flights have been rerouted here, as well. Delta has cancelled a total of 29 flights into and out of Tokyo today.

· Sendai Airport was horribly flooded by a tsunami wave, causing passengers, crew and staff to take shelter on the roof of the terminal building. There's no news about the condition of the aircraft at Sendai, but they have said that many areas of the airport are undamaged, so let's hope all the planes are there. See photos if it here.

· Double-check your flight or, if you can, reschedule your trip; Tokyo and the rest of Japan will be reeling from this for at least a little while, and it's not the best time to try to go about your day as normal there. Most airlines that fly to Tokyo are waiving fees for flight changes, so get on that.

· The subways, JR and private trains in Tokyo are temporarily suspended. Most of the city is walking home if they can, although subway service is expected to re-start with limited runs soon. On that note, underground is one of the safer places to be, so subway stations are packed with those waiting out the aftershocks and hoping to get a train home soon.

· Disneyland Tokyo has thousands of merrymakers stranded. There's nothing to do now but wait until safe ways can be found for them to return home, and even make it out of the theme park. See a TwitPic here of people sitting in wait, in the center of the park. And for more information on this, see the Disney Blog.

· The TODAY Show has confirmation from Japanese police that the earthquake and tsunamis have caused at least 88 deaths, with over 340 people missing.

· The tsunamis are not causing much damage in Hawaii at this point, and the waves continue on to hit the US' west coast, though aren't expected to cause serious damage.

· The US State Department recommends using social media to contact your friends and family to check on them, as telephone lines are disruptive. Instead, attempt Facebook, Twitter and text messages.

· CNN is liveblogging all updates on the earthquake, aftershocks and tsunamis and not just those in Japan. This is probably the best way to follow along with breaking news. Read it here.

· If you're looking for any information or trying to locate a person, Google has a Crisis Response site containing everything from links to the status of the train lines to a message board for finding those lost over the last day.

Stay tuned for more updates, but seriously, if you can postpone your trip to Japan, do it.

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