Fifty countries and territories across Asia have been given tsunami alert warnings by United States National Weather Service following the massive earthquake that has hit Japan triggering massive tsunami of unimaginable dimension.
The nations include Russia and Indonesia, Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica and the U.S. state of Hawaii. The weather service’s bulletin is intended “as advice to government agencies.”
The quake, which struck near the coast of Honshu, Japan on Friday afternoon, unleashed a wall of water that surged in towards dry lands, sweeping along houses and everything at sight including cars and ships and many more.
Some officials feared that the fast-moving waves resulting from the water attack could be so high that they could be sweeping along entire islands in the Pacific.
A spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Friday sounded a warning.
There was some good news on the island of Guam, where the tsunami warning was lifted. Police reported no damage or injuries. Indonesia also lifted its warning.
Experts are saying that it could be anywhere from 4 to 10 meters. That’s higher than some of the Pacific islands are above sea level.
We just have to do the calculations to see that this is a real threat,” federation spokesman Paul Conneally said.
“In a situation like this, we have to prepare for the worst case scenario,” he added.
But Gerard Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said even though waves could cause significant flooding, “washing over islands is not going to happen.”
Tsunami waves can travel at speeds of 800 kilometers per hour.
“The tsunami is more than one wave, and the waves can be separated by 20 minutes or half an hour.
So just because you see a wave come up and then go back in the ocean again, that doesn’t mean it’s over,” Fryer said.
Sirens sounded in Hawaii around 10 p.m. Thursday (3 a.m. ET), warning residents they could expect tsunami waves five hours later.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center early Friday issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas along the United States and Canadian west coasts. The tsunami warning includes coastal areas of California and Oregon from Point Conception to the Oregon-Washington border. It also includes coastal areas of Alaska from Amchitka Pass to Attu.
“This is a massive one, and it will have different effects depending on the location, on the seabed, and on other sorts of characteristics. But clearly this is very large, and from that perspective, all countries need to be alert, on standby for the moment.”
Wendy Watson-Wright of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization warned nations to be on alert.
“This is a massive one, and it will have different effects depending on the location, on the seabed, and on other sorts of characteristics,” she said.
In the Philippines, the government has evacuated 20 coast areas. Officials said they were getting reports from Isabela province of “unusual waves” hitting the coastline.
The administrator of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency said employees are ready to assist state and local officials.
“We remind everyone who lives in the region to monitor their local news for instructions from their state and local officials and if told to evacuate — evacuate,” said Administrator Craig Fugate.
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said more than 11,000 people living in dangerous areas had been evacuated after a tsunami warning was issued for the Kuril Islands. Ships docked in open ports were heading back out to sea to avoid being hit by tsunami waves, the ministry said.
Chip McCreary of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said officials estimated the quake was already causing waves with magnitudes of up to 2 meters above normal sea level.
“This is a very large earthquake. We’ve evaluated it as about the same size as the earthquake last year in Chile. However, it’s much closer to the Hawaiian islands than the Chile earthquake,” he said.
The National Weather Service list includes Japan, Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Fiji, Mexico, New Zealand, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and the United States.
Numerous Pacific islands, including some U.S. territories, are also on the list.
Friday’s 8.9-magnitude temblor in Japan was the largest earthquake since a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Banda Aceh area of Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, causing a massive tsunami that killed about 250,000 people in 14 countries and washed away entire communities.
The tsunami caused nearly $10 billion in damage and more casualties than any other tsunami in history, according to the United Nations.
The earthquake, initially reported as a 7.8 earthquake, was upgraded to an 8.9 quake.
“When you jump a magnitude from 7 to 8, it’s not 10 times stronger, it’s 1000 times stronger,” said CNN International meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. “With an … earthquake that shallow, that close to shore, there will be more than one tsunami.”
Babies with THREE parents and free of genetic disease could soon be born using controversial IVF technique
Babies with three biological parents could soon be born after the Health Secretary took the first step towards approving a controversial IVF technique.
Andrew Lansley has asked the fertility watchdog to review the safety and effectiveness of a technique that would prevent genetic diseases.
An expert panel from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) will now assess the technique that could do away with mitochondrial conditions.
Babies who have these can suffer fatal liver, heart and neurological disorders.
It could help couples like Sharon and Neil Bernardi, who lost all seven of their children to the mitochondrial Leigh’s disease.
Mitochondria are located in every human cell and act as ‘power houses’ to provide the energy for cells to function. It is inherited exclusively from the mother.
Mitochondrial DNA is not present in the nucleus of a fertilised egg, meaning scientists could extract the nucleus and place it into another egg from a donor.
The resulting embryo would have 98 per cent inherited genetic material from its mother and father, with two per cent coming from the donor mother.
Alison Murdoch, head of the department of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University, which has developed the technique, said: ‘We are not ready to do this in patients now but the science is progressing very rapidly and we need to get Parliament to discuss this again now.
‘We anticipate that the process of review could take about a year so we are asking for this process to start now.
‘As doctors we have a duty to treat disease and where possible to prevent disease. With diseases for which there are no treatments the imperative to develop new treatments is even greater.
‘Of course no treatment is ever risk free and if there are risks we will need to quantify these so that doctors can discuss the relative risks and benefits with patients and their families.’
However, Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: ‘Nobody disputes our duty to address the tragic impact of diseases deriving from faulty mitochondria, but this kind of genetic engineering is considered by far the most controversial and risky solution, and a dangerous move towards altering the human germ-line.
‘In order to remove the faulty genetic material, two completely genetically separate embryos would be involved, with the healthy one sacrificed to provide the good mitochondria.’
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘We have asked the Human Fertilisation and
Embryology Authority to co-ordinate an expert group to assess the effectiveness and safety of a new technique to treat mitochondrial disease.
‘This is in response to a request from researchers asking the Department of Health to make new regulations under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to allow this treatment.
‘This treatment is not currently possible under current legislation. We welcome scientific innovation and this group will investigate the safety of this technique reporting back to us.
‘When the group reports back, and based on the evidence available, we can decide whether it is the right time to consider making these regulations.’