Tsunami alerts have also been raised for Indonesia, Phillipines, Hawai, Pacific coast of Russia, Taiwan, Mexico. The tremors of the earthquake that initiated the Tsunami in north-eastern Japan was also felt in Greater Tokyo, the national capital region of Japan.
Japanese broadcasters showed buildings, industrial sheds, cars and ships being washed away. Terminal of Sendai Airport, a busy air-traffic centre in the north-eastern Japan has been completely swept away. TV broadcasts showed the high-rise waves moving swiftly engulfed everything on the way. With heavy traffic movement on the streets, the number of casualties is expected to shoot beyond the roof.
Five nuclear plants have also been forced to shut down. Meanwhile nearly electricity supply has been disconnected to 4.3 million homes.
Although the exact loss in terms of life and property is still to be officially established, the mind automatically goes off to the Tsunami of 2004 that had hit the southern coasts of India and Sri Lanka. The enormity of the loss to life and property in that natural catastrophe can be gauged from the fact that the areas are yet to be fully replenished in those terms.
So what is a tsunami?
Tsunamis going by the definition is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, normally an ocean. Linguistically, it comes from the Japanese terms 'tsu' meaning harbour and 'nami' meaning waves.
Tsunamis are frequent occuring in Japan and till date there are nearly 200 reported events of its occurence. Apart from Japan, Indonesia and Phillipines have also time and again bore the brunt of this disaster.
What leads to the occurrence of a Tsunami?
Whenever a high-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in the deep sea-bed occurs, it may at times abruptly deform the sea floor which in turn vertically displaces high volumes of water that continue to move towards the coast. Tectonic earthquakes are the kind of earthquake that generally leads to the earth's crustal deformation and generates a tsunami.