Disaster In Japan: Worst Crisis Since World War II

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March 14, 2011 7:33 a.m.

1||March 14, 2011: In the wake of the largest earthquake to strike Japan in recorded history, the island nation now faces a humanitarian crisis. The tsunami triggered by the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake washed away neighborhoods, claiming thousands of lives and causing widespread devastation.

Debris floating in a bay in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture completely blotted the water from view. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

2||The force of the earthquake bent a section of train track in Fukushima, Japan. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

3||Waves up to 30 feet tall slammed coastal towns, completely leveling buildings. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

4||Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said it was the worst crisis to befall Japan since World War II. ||n39/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

5||Cars and trucks were swept into a heap in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. ||pa9/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

6||In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, a large fishing boat lay flipped over on its side. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

7||Several nuclear reactors were damaged by the earthquake, prompting fears of a potential nuclear meltdown. This picture, taken in 2008, shows the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station. ||KYODO/Xinhua/Newscom&&

8||The cooling system was knocked offline at the Fukushima plant, causing a buildup of pressure and, ultimately, the explosion of one of the reactors. These still images from Japanese television station NHK show the plant before (below) and after (above) the explosion. ||NHK/CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

9||Television footage showed smoke billowing from the plant following the explosion. There have been two hydrogen explosions at the plant, sparking fresh concerns about possible radiation leaks. ||CNN&&

10||At least 10,000 people have been confirmed killed in the disaster, with the death toll rapidly rising, and tens of thousands of people still missing. ||CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

11||Houses in Kamaichi, Iwate, Japan were reduced to heaps of rubble. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

12||The 8.9 magnitude earthquake was the fifth largest in the past century. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

13||||Kyodo/Newscom&&

14||The tsunami swept away passenger trains in Shinchi, Fukushima Prefecture. ||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

15||||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

16||A few homes stood surrounded by the wreakge in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. ||n39/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

17|||Kyodo/Newscom&&

18||||Kyodo/Newscom&&

19||In some places, the tsunami waves reached as far as three miles inland. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

20||A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force trooper sifted through the wreckage at the Sendai Airport. ||Natsuki Sakai/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

21||||Liu Xingzhe/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

22||||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

23||||KAM KA/CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

24||A woman walked through the remains of a neighborhood in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. ||KAM KA/CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

25||Japanese troops conducted a search and rescue operation in Miyagi Prefecture. ||Natsuki Sakai/AFLO/Newscom&&

26||Waves pushed vehicles into a pile at the Sendai Airport. ||Natsuki Sakai/AFLO/Newscom&&

27||The tsunami flooded the Sendai Airport, washing away planes and vehicles and splintering structures. ||Natsuki Sakai/AFLO/Newscom&&

28||||Natsuki Sakai/AFLO/Newscom&&

29||||FOREST LU/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

30||||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

31||Black smoke rose over Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture one day after the earthquake hit. The quake sparked widespread fires across the region. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

32||||FOREST LU/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

33||||FOREST LU/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

34||||Kyodo/Newscom&&

35||||Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

36||||n39/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

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