*Update 6:00 P.M UAE time: death toll is now over 40 people*
*Update 3:00 P.M. UAE time: All flights to Tokyo and other cities in Japan have been canceled.*
TOKYO – A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast.
At least one person was killed and there were reports of several injuries in Tokyo, hundreds of kilometers (miles) away, where buildings shook violently through the main quake and the wave of massive aftershocks that followed.
TV footage showed waves of muddy waters sweeping over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away.
"This is a rare major quake, and damages could quickly rise by the minute," said Junichi Sawada, an official with Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths but had no immediate details. Police said at least one person was killed in a house collapse in Ibaraki prefecture, just northeast of Tokyo.
A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and was burning out of control.
Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of a large ship being swept away by the tsunami and ramming directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture. Similar destruction was seen in dozens of communities along the coast.
In various locations along the coast, footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters.
The quake struck at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by five powerful aftershocks within about an hour, the strongest measuring 7.1. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency measured it at 8.4.
The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S. state of Hawaii.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.
In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms. NHK said more than 4 million buildings without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.
The ceiling in Kudan Kaikan, a large hall in Tokyo, collapsed, injuring an unknown number of people, NHK said.
Osamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit.
It sent bookshelves and computers crashing to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls.
"I've been through many earthquakes, but I've never felt anything like this," he said. "I don't know if we'll be able to get home tonight."
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks. It also showed a glass shelter at a bus stop in Tokyo completely smashed by the quake and a weeping woman nearby being comforted by another woman.
Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.
Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working. Japan's Coast Guard has set up a task force and officials are standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said.
"I'm afraid we'll soon find out about damages, since the quake was so strong," he said.
The tsunami roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.
In Tokyo, hundreds of people were evacuated from Shinjuku station, the world's busiest, to a nearby park. Trains were halted.
Tokyo's main airport was closed. A large section of the ceiling at the 1-year-old airport at Ibaraki, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, fell to the floor with a powerful crash.
TV announcers urged viewers near the shore to move to strong concrete buildings and stay above the third floor .
Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said they were still assessing damage but had not confirmed any deaths.
Though there is no known exact date of construction, the timeline of the Arad Fort is roughly the 15th century. Made in the typically Arab manner, the fort has been thoroughly refurbished and is a truly awe-inspiring sight when it is lit up at night.It is thought that the fort was used by the Omanis during their short occupation of Bahrain in 1800. It was deliberately built next to the waterways b...
This is Kuwait’s largest theme park and a must-see for families, especially those with children. Visitors are guaranteed a an eventful day packed with activities and sights to keep them active for the whole day. Considered to be one of the friendliest and liveliest theme parks in the world, Entertainment city is divided into three worlds, Arab World, International World and Future World. Each of t...
North Delhi is known as a residential area home to the Delhi University and India's middle class. Unless you are visiting relatives or friends who live here, there is nothing spectacular about North Delhi. ...
Rothschild Giraffes faced a fear of extinction. It was this center which made an all out effort to save them. There are Giraffes which can come and feed from your hands here now. It is a favorite with children. There are also bushbucks, dik-diks and warthogs found here. The gift and souvenir shop is well stocked and not very expensive. The Giraffe Manor in the premises is now an up market ho...