Japan earthquake and tsunami: U.S. response and impact

A massive 8.9-magnitude quake Friday triggered a tsunami along the coastline north of Tokyo. A nuclear reactor was left unstable by the aftershocks, stoking fears of a meltdown.
Compiled by Ian Saleh
Washington Post Staff
Friday, March 11, 2011; 3:36 PM

A large earthquake hit off Japan's coast, causing tsunami waves which killed hundreds. President Obama offered his support and redeployed several U.S. ships to Japan. As Craig Whitlock reported:

Obama said he spoke to Kan and offered U.S. help. He told reporters that the main way the United States could assist would be in providing "lift capacity" to help in the cleanup. "You have huge disruptions," he said, with "boats and houses and cars that are washed into the main thoroughfares, and that requires heavy equipment."

"I am heartbroken by this tragedy," Obama said. He said it reminded him that "for all our differences . . . ultimately humanity is one." He cited his "close personal connection" with Japanese culture from having grown up in Hawaii, which he said "makes our concerns that much more acute." But he expressed confidence that Japan, relying on its people's resourcefulness and its economic might, "will successfully rebuild."

The U.S. military redeployed several ships toward Japan on Friday and began preparing for humanitarian-relief missions in the expectation that it would be asked to help respond to the disaster.

U.S. Air Force planes in Japan, meanwhile, delivered coolant to a nuclear power plant affected by the quake, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

White House Chief of Staff William Daley said that the U.S. is out of major danger from tsunami waves. As Elizabeth Flock related:

The United States appears to be out of major danger from the tsunami, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said. "The tsunami wave has gone through Hawaii and there does not seem to be any enormous impact, which is extremely encouraging," the BBC reports Daley saying. "I think the enormous fears that that were there hours ago, for some of us hours ago, has diminished greatly, which is quite a relief for all of us."

The tsunami in Hawaii surged onto beaches and up canals, exposing reefs, but the biggest wave measured so far was just under 3 feet at Hanalei, on Kauai, according to the National Weather Service. Waves are expected to continue and grow in height.

President Obama called Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at 10:15 a.m. this morning to discuss the earthquake and the tsunami.

Capital Weather Gang did a roundup of when the waves from the tsunami were projected to touch U.S. shores:

What are the estimated wave heights for U.S. West Coast?

AccuWeather has a list of projected wave heights which range from 2 to 8 feet in California and Oregon.

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