Pacific tsunami warning following massive Japan quake

Pacific tsunami warning following massive Japan quake

The massive Japan quake, the biggest one in the past 140 years, has prompted at least 19 countries and numerous Pacific islands to issue tsunami warnings. The quake hit about 400km from the capital, Tokyo, at a depth of 35km. It occurred at 7.46am Bulgarian time.

The wave of destruction is expected to hit the Philippines "any time soon" and is anticipated to strike Indonesia in about an hour, the BBC World Service reported. The massive wave is sweeping across the Pacific Ocean and more than a dozen countries are feared to be potential targets.

Meanwhile, the Japanese authorities are already in the middle of a massive crisis as humanitarian agencies work with rescue crews to reach the people affected.

The tremor struck in the north-east of Japan, triggering a tsunami that has caused extensive damage. Television reports have shown cars and buildings being swept away as the sludge of water, mud and debris inches inland destroys everything in its path. According to reports, in places the wave was up to 10 metres high.

The quake has sparked industrial fires in several cities including Tokyo, and many people are feared dead.

Oil refineries have been destroyed, as fires burn uncontrollably. Initial reports that there were radioactive leaks were denied by Japanese officials who told the BBC World Service that for the moment there is no such indication. The damage to infrastructure and property in the area where the tsunami struck has been so massive that, for the moment, estimates of the financial damage are unknown.

The Japanese government has established a "special task force" to deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, Philippines are preparing for the wall of water expected to arrive in the early morning local time. The Manila government has ordered the evacuation of 19 provinces along the coast, which could affect hundreds of thousands of people, CNN reported.

The tsunami warning was extended to the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Pacific coast of Russia and Hawaii. The warning was issued for the entire western coast of the United States and Canada from the Mexican border to Chignik Bay in Alaska.

According to the map provided by authorities, the Philippines will be hit approximately six hours after the earthquake. It will reach the northern coast of Australia some nine hours later and New Zealand, 12 hours later. The wall of water is anticipated to hit the western coast of north America, eight hours later for British Colombia and between nine and ten hours later, in California.

South America and Chile should feel the wave about 21 hours after the earthquake