Northeastern Japan was devastated by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake (the epicenter was around 231 miles northeast of Tokyo) and its resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011.
So far the USGS has recorded 371 aftershocks, with many of them in the 5.0-6.0 magnitude range. The damage has been widespread including fires, blackouts, and ongoing troubles at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Google has set up a Crisis Response page with up-to-date information and also put a simple method to send donations to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
I strongly urge those who can spare some money to donate because there are a great number of people in need of assistance and every yen counts.
The strength of the main earthquake makes it one of the strongest earthquakes in recorded history. I have read reports that said it lasted around 3 minutes with constant aftershocks immediately following. Since I live in California, the threat of earthquakes is very real to me. Videos showed skyscrapers swaying back and forth during the earthquakes, but the minimal damage to them is a testament to how good Japan’s building codes really are. The tsunami on the other hand, caused massive damage to many areas. I was left speechless when viewing live footage of the tsunami on Friday.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those in Japan.