Friday, March 11, 2011

U.S Troops React To Japan Quake & Tsunami

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan on Friday, shaking buildings across the country, setting dozens of fires in the Tokyo region, and prompting a tsunami warning from New Zealand to the west coast of the United States.
Aftershocks continued to strike the Tokyo area for hours, in what is being called the largest earthquake since a 9.0-magnitude quake struck the Banda Aceh area of Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, causing a massive tsunami that killed about 250,000 people in 14 countries.
U.S. military commands across the Pacific were scrambling to locate their people and put out information.
“We’ve issued instructions to our pierside ships in Yokosuka to stand by their lines to be prepared to quickly adjust them as necessary to prevent damage during any resulting tsunami,” said 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency has issued a two meter (six feet) tsunami warning for the Yokosuka area with Sagami Bay and Muira peninsula issued a three meter (nearly 10 feet) major tsunami warning. This area is expected to see the tsunami from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Personnel are advised to remain in their on base-residence. Off-base residence should follow the local area evacuation orders. At Misawa Air Base, the Commander Task Force 72 Patrol and Reconnaissance headquarters has been evacuated, Davis added.
Misawa personnel are all accounted for, according to a 6:30 p.m. update.
“At the region level, we have no reports of injuries or major damage at any Navy facility,” said Cmdr. Ron Steiner, spokesman for Commander Naval Forces Japan.
The command, however, released this statement at around 6 p.m. on its Facebook page:
“All U.S. Navy personnel, civilian employees, contractors and Japanese workers are requested to contact their respective commands and inform them of their personal status and whereabouts. If phone lines are busy please continue to find any means available to make your status known however your own safety is the first priority.”
The Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka website is warning anyone in low-lying areas potentially affected by a tsunami to move to higher ground.

“The early reports we have are that all U.S. personnel are accounted for,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, at NATO meetings in Brussels with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
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 quake struck at a depth of 6 miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles northeast of Tokyo.

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