Tokyo, Mar 11 (ANI): The devastating tsunami following a 8.9 earthquake magnitude off the northeastern coast in Japan has reportedly killed 23 people and injuring many others.
The earthquake has led to widespread power blackouts, and countries across the Pacific Ocean, from Russia to South America, besides Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, have been alerted for possible tsunami attack, The New York Times reports.
The paper quoted an official as saying that the government had held an emergency session to coordinate response as the death toll rose to 23 in five prefectures. At least 30 people were injured in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.
Following the earthquake, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan had said that the country's disaster management operations have been activated to counter the after effects of earthquake-cum-tsunami.
Kan had urged citizens of the country to remain calm and asked those immediately affected to relocate to higher ground, according to local television reports. He had also promised immediate and prompt emergency aid, even as reports surfaced about a number of people missing or dead.
He confirmed that five nuclear plants in the country have shut down operations and that one oil refinery had caught fire.
The tsunami had hit the coast of northeast Japan following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake about 80 miles offshore. A second major earthquake of 7.4 magnitude was reported as aftershocks shook the region.
The U.S. Geological Survey called the 8.9 magnitude earthquake as a "mega" quake.
The tremor occurred at about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo and at a depth of about 15 miles. The quake occurred at 2:46 p.m. Tokyo time and its location was off Honshu, Japan's most populous island, the paper said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has warned Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas to be aware of Tsunami. Japan's meteorological agency warned that a tsunami as high as 20 feet could strike the coast near Miyagi prefecture, closest to the epicenter. (ANI)