TOKYO More than 1,000 people probably died in the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster that devastated parts of Japan on Friday, Kyodo News agency said.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a condolence cable to Emperor of Japan, Akihito, following the destructive earthquake that hit Japan.
Sheikh Khalifa expressed his deep condolences to the Emperor and the victims’ families and his sincere wishes of fast recovery for the injured.
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum sent a similar condolence cable to the Emperor.
The 8.9-magnitude quake, the seventh biggest ever recorded, generated a monster wall of water that pulverised everything in its path along parts of Japan’s Northeast coast before surging inland.
At least 310 people were estimated killed in the massive earthquake that struck at 1446 local time (UAE 0946) and following tsunamis, police and press reports said.
The government declared an atomic power emergency as officials rushed to secure key nuclear facilities in the affected regions.
A massive fire also engulfed an oil refinery in Iichihara near Tokyo.
Two trains and a ship with 100 people on board were washed away.
A dam in Japan’s northeast Fukushima prefecture broke and homes were washed away, Kyodo news reported.
The Sankei Shimbun reported that the Fujinuma irrigation dam in Sukagawa city, Fukushima, had collapsed, with homes washed away and people missing.
The earthquake brought super-modern Tokyo to a standstill, paralysing trains that normally run like clockwork and stranding hordes of commuters carrying mobile phones rendered largely useless by widespread outages.
It brought the train system to a halt, choking a daily commuter flow of more than 10 million people.
Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage.
Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire US West coast.
Nations around the world offered support and sympathy to Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The United Nations said that search and rescue teams from more than 45 countries were ready to head to the country if it needs help.
India and China said rescuers were ready to help with quake relief while President Barack Obama told Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan the United State would assist in any way.
The 25,000 Indians living in Japan were declared safe.
The National Police Agency said 137 people were confirmed dead and 531 were missing — while police in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, separately said 200 to 300 bodies had been found on the shore.
The defence ministry said about 1,800 homes in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture, were destroyed, while in Sendai authorities said 1,200 houses were toppled by the tsunami.
The small town of Ofunato further north reported 300 house collapsed or swept away.
More than 80 fires blazed in and around Tokyo and in the Iwate, Miyagi, Akita and Fukushima prefectures, Kyodo reported, quoting Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
US airlines cancelled most of their flights to and from Japan.
Delta Air Lines Inc, which operates more flights in Japan than any other US carrier, said 29 flights were cancelled into and out of Tokyo as a result of runway and facility closures.
Japanese politicians pushed for an emergency budget to fund relief efforts after Kan asked them to “save the country,” Kyodo news agency reported.
Authorities in California ordered hundreds of people to evacuate.
The evacuations were organised in five coastal counties where waves produced by the quake began arriving some 12 hours after the deadly temblor, said Tina Walker, spokeswoman for the California Emergency Management Agency.