A magnitude 8.9 offshore earthquake strikes northern Japan, setting off a massive tsunami that kills hundreds and could lead to radioactive risk from a nuclear power plant.
Japan's strongest recorded earthquake, and the massive tsunami it unleashed, has left hundreds of Japanese dead and hundreds more missing, while residents fled coastlines across the Pacific rim from Alaska to Chile for fear of the effects washing ashore. Meanwhile, evacuations were ordered near the epicenter in northeastern Japan amidst reports that a nuclear reactor's cooling system could fail and set off a radioactive meltdown. As dawn broke, there were reports of dangerously high levels of radiation near the plant.
Over the past 18 hours, the world followed the developments and dramatic images – often in real time -- on television and the internet, as cars, boats and building were swept away and fires burned on surging walls of water. Here is how just a small fraction of the information spread from inside (and outside) Japan.
News organizations tried to make sense in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Here's LeFigaro's first take.
SOCIAL MEDIA FEED
News organizations, big and small, tried to keep up with the steady stream of information coming in. This from the Irish new media organization Storyful.
Japanese TV: people flee, fires burn....
CNN: when it struck...
Tokyo from the air...
...and La Stampa
Other websites around the world
Coasts were cleared in Hawaii and California...and southward. Up and down the Pacific coast of Latin America , governments began taking precautionary measures as they braced for tsunamis. In Chile , authorities ordered the evacuation of the estimated 3,200 residents on Easter Island. In Ecuador , President Rafael Correa imposed a state of an alert for the next 60 days and ordered evacuations in some areas. Hawaiian