The devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan last Thursday caused an enormous tsunami that was felt as far away as California.
The tsunami reached the California coast on Friday, promoting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for Santa Cruz, Del Norte, Humboldt and San Mateo counties.
Officials estimate the damages to the harbor to be near $15 million. Enormous waves pulverized an inland dock on the coast, 30-40 privately-owned boated we damaged by the waves, adding another $5 million to the damage costs.
The tsunami began to pummel the coast around 8 a.m. Friday morning, and continued to batter the coast for hours afterward.
The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center sent out an evacuation advisory and closed off zones nearest to the coast. The block was lifted Friday evening.
The Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Department is currently working to verify the contamination and pollution levels in the area.
Japan is in the midst of recovering from its worst disaster since WW II. Death tolls are expected to total in the thousands – the town of Minami Sanriku, for example, has reported more than 10,000 of its 17,000 residents missing. The enormous earthquake is the fifth-worst in recorded history, and the worst Japan has ever experienced. After the initial quake, aftershocks continued throughout the day, causing a volcano to erupt along Asia’s “Ring of Fire”.
Millions of residents are currently without power or running water, and 500,000 people have been relocated. More than 46,000 structures have been damaged.
Our heart goes out to all those affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami. As members of the marine community, we have a unique understanding of the power of nature and the devastation it can cause.
Multiple charities have opened up emergency operation centers dedicated to helping the people of Japan. Click here to see a list of reputable organizations that are collecting relief funds for Japan.