A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan on Friday, March 11, causing a tsunami that has resulted in loss of life and widespread destruction.
Areas as far away as California have experienced tsunami-related damage and human casualties. Since the earthquake struck, concern has moved increasingly to damage at Fukushima's nuclear plant and radiation levels. Many countries, including the US and Australia, have upgraded warnings as events have unfolded.
Travellers on the Thorn Tree are posting updates regularly on the situation in Japan.
Travellers to Japan and the Pacific should check warnings on the following websites:
- travel.state.gov (USA)
- Foreign Office (UK)
- Smartraveller (Australia)
- Safe Travel (New Zealand)
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada)
For those concerned about radiation exposure, The Guardian has put together a guide to which levels are considered dangerous. Airlines are also keeping a close eye on radiation issues - and in the meantime, many are waiving fees for those wanting to change flights to Japan. With some governments advising against travel to Tokyo and northeast Japan, the LA Times has put together an article: will travel insurance cover you?
For people trying to locate friends, Google has jumped in quickly and created Person Finder: Japan Earthquake 2011, a tool where anyone can post if they are looking for someone or know of someone's whereabouts.
Several international organisations, including the Red Cross, have appealed for donations to aid relief efforts.