One of the key things is that there is going to require a lot of work on casualty tracking since many families will have been divided. People are now making hundreds of telephone calls to find out if members of their family are alive. The mobile phone network will be at capacity and it will be interesting to see if it can handle the pressure or will invoke procedures limiting access to public calls to emergency services. The quake struck at around 2pm in Japan, which means schools will have been still working, so many people evacuating will have the added stress of trying to reach their children. Hospitals are also going to be overwhelmed. It is a major humanitarian disaster -- like Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake rolled into one.
From the BBC's live-blog:
Another five powerful aftershocks measuring around 5.5 magnitude have just rattled the eastern coast of Japan in quick succession, the US Geological Survey reports.
The WSJ's live-blog:
Twitter user _mego tweeted that she was stranded in her house in Miyagi prefecture Japan’s worst-hit cityFriday. Her first tweet approximately an hour ago said the first floor of her seaside house was flooded due to an earlier tsunami and she is being forced to take refuge on the second floor. She tweets, “A tsunami just hit. I am taking pictures from the second floor of my house. The flooding continues and I am afraid of being left behind. Please come to my rescue!!” The tweet was followed by her address and a grizzly picture.
Friday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake is the fifth largest recorded by the United States Geological Survey since 1900. The U.S.G.S. has a list of the fifteen biggest on its Web site, including:
1. 1960 -- 9.5 -- Chile
2. 1964 -- 9.2 -- Prince William Sound, Alaska
3. 2004 -- 9.1 -- Sumatra
4. 1952 -- 9.0 -- Kamchatka, Russia
5. 2011 -- 8.9 -- Friday in Japan
6. 2010 -- 8.8 -- Offshore Maule, Chile
(Photo: This aerial shot shows the tsunami tidal waves moving upstream in the Naka river at Hitachinaka city in Ibaraki prefecture on March 11, 2011. A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake shook Japan, unleashing a powerful tsunami that sent ships crashing into the shore and carried cars through the streets of coastal towns. By STR/AFP/Getty Images)