Major earthquake then tsunami hit Japan 03/11/2011

Major earthquake then tsunami hit Japan 03/11/2011

Northeastern Japan has been hit by a four-meter tsunami, thought to have been caused by an earthquake which struck about 400km (250 miles) from Tokyo and measured 8.9 on the Richter scale.

Japan's meteorological agency says the quake hit at 2pm local time.

There are considerable numbers of casualties being reported and widespread damage in the country's north-east. Communication links are paralyzed, making it difficult to confirm levels of damage or injuries.

The worst-affected prefectures in Japan, hit by waves as high as 10 meters, are Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba. In northern Japan, water is surging inland in Sendai, some 350km north of Tokyo.

People are being evacuated to higher ground with officials predicting more waves of up to 10 meters high.

Video from national broadcasts shows buildings, cars and even ships being swept away and several fires blazing across the coastline

Tsunami-affected areas in Japan. Red indicates waves 3-10 meters high, orange – 1-2 meters high, yellow – 0.5 meters (

Tokyo's Narita International Airport has been closed. The quake's epicenter was located 130km off Japan's Pacific coast.

The first wave, reportedly measuring a meter high, has also reached Russia's neighboring Kuril Islands, located to the north of Japan. 11 thousand people are being evacuated from the area.

A tsunami warning's now in place across the entire Pacific region.

Philippine officials have also ordered an evacuation of communities along the country's eastern coast in expectation of an aftershock