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Historic Quake in Japan

Aired March 11, 2011 - 13:20   ET


ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Obama leaving the briefing room after a conversation with reporters. A full press conference that was supposed to be about energy prices. I'm Ali Velshi.


But, of course, it tackled many more big and important topics today, including that earthquake in Japan and the tsunami that devastated so many parts of northern Japan. So, Ali, he spoke to the Japanese prime minister, President Obama did, pledged assistance, any kind of assistance Japan might need, including cleanup efforts after all this is done. And they've tried and hopefully succeeded in rescuing as many people as possible, and also said he was heartbroken by the tragedy.

VELSHI: And he also touched on energy issues. And one of the biggest concerns leading up to a week from now, and that is the federal budget in the United States.

Wolf Blitzer has been watching this very closely for us from Washington.

Wolf, it was supposed to be about energy and oil prices, but obviously overnight this development in Japan changed the course of this discussion. And it became about all of these topics, as Hala was saying, including Libya and energy prices. What did you take away from the president's comments?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": On all of these issues, the president certainly has a full plate of crises right now. Japan very much on his mind, as you can see, and as you point out, he said he was heartbroken about what's going on. I suspect that the devastation, the loss of life will only increase in the coming hours. This is a crisis of enormous, enormous importance. The worst earthquake I think ever in Japan right now, 8.9 magnitude. A powerful earthquake followed by this huge tsunami. So the work is only beginning to find those who may have survived and to do whatever is necessary to rescue those who might still be trapped. But, unfortunately, I suspect this is going to get -- the tragedy, the scope of the tragedy, what we know about it, is going to get a whole lot worse in the coming hours.

On the issue of Libya, it was important to note that the president said that the United States is now going to have a U.S. official who will be in close consultation with the Libyan opposition. Now, that's not going as far as the government of France did yesterday when it formally recognized the opposition as the legitimate government of Libya, but it does say the U.S. will have a permanent official in close consultation, a representative working with the Libyan opposition.

And he reaffirmed what we knew yesterday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to the region in the coming days. She will meet with some members of that Libyan opposition.

But he said, while all options are on the table, including all military options, the United States is not taking any direct military steps, at least not yet, to get rid of Moammar Gadhafi. The U.S. goal is to get rid of him, but he was not precise, as you heard, Ali and Hala, in how the U.S. will do it and certainly did not authorize a no- fly zone any time soon. He's still hoping that NATO and the United Nations will give some sort of international backing before the U.S. does anything unilaterally.

VELSHI: Wolf, thanks very much. We'll stay on top of this with you. Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

Two things, Hala. Wolf was just mentioning this new development about Libya. It was a big development this week when France decided to recognize the transitional government, the opposition in Libya, as the legitimate carriers of government there.

GORANI: Yes, absolutely. And France is distancing itself from the United States and Germany. France and the U.K. on the one hand, the United States and Germany on the other. And in another way as well, they're a lot more enthusiastic about this no-fly zone idea.


GORANI: And the United States seems a lot cooler on it. So it's going to be interesting to see how much more violence and bloodshed it will take potentially for all these countries to get together within a NATO framework, with U.N. backing, to do something militarily in Libya.

VELSHI: And I want to introduce our viewers from the United States and around the world. I'm Ali Velshi, with Hala Gorani here, covering this historic disaster. Much of the world is feeling it. We're still on the lookout for high waves on the U.S. West Coast, where beaches have been closed all night. Within the past few hours, six or even seven foot waves hit parts of Hawaii, but we have no reports of injury or serious damage.

GORANI: In fact, if you look at this picture, it looked like any normal day. But look at this picture in northern Japan and the damage there is monumental. The known death toll in the hundreds. It is certain to climb. It was 8.9 magnitude. That is the strongest earthquake in more than 100 years. Look at this.


GORANI: These are -- this is -- water has no business being here, Ali.


GORANI: This is debris, cars, houses, just slamming against the coast and going inland as far as several miles.

VELSHI: Unbelievable. One always wonders if you don't have experience with this, how much damage water can do. We've seen example after example of this. This police in the coastal city of Sendai (ph) say that they have found as many as 300 bodies in the tsunami's wake. This is some 50 miles to the southwest. A dam has broken. Eighteen homes by the government's count have washed away.

GORANI: And this is, as we said, the biggest earthquake Japan has ever recorded. This is inside a building. I believe this is an office building.


GORANI: Exactly at the exact moment that this earthquake struck.

VELSHI: Now this thing -- this earthquake was centered roughly 200 miles northeast of Tokyo at a relatively shallow 15 miles below the sea floor. On land, destruction takes many forms. Let me show you a picture of a refinery in the city of Chiba (ph), just east of Tokyo. A very good distance south of the worst hit areas. We are also watching very closely a nuclear plant that was shut down but couldn't be properly cooled because of a power outage. Now it since has been cooled, but officials say a small radiation leak is still possible.

GORANI: And, by the way, 30 percent of Japanese people get their electricity from nuclear power. Now, if you think we are somehow overstating the force that was unleashed here, take a look at this computer image.


GORANI: The dark blue masses are continents, North and South America on the right, Asia and Australia on the left. Those currents of red and orange are the ripple effects of the earthquake throughout the Pacific Ocean.

VELSHI: CNN correspondent Kyung Lah is making her way from Tokyo to the northeastern regions that took the brunt of this disaster. That's no easy task. She joins us now by phone.

Kyung, where are you and what is it looking like?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm actually in the back seat of our news vehicle. And I want to just tilt my laptop this way. You'll have to forgive how low-grade the quality of this picture is, but we're just trying to keep moving and keep reporting.

So, take a look at what we're looking at, Ali. This is miles and miles of traffic. We have been trying to move for more than six hours now. And we're still in northern Tokyo. It's very slow going. And the reason why it's been so slow going is because the highways remain shut down. Highways are elevated in Japan. And so the concern is, is that if you let cars onto those elevated highways and there's a massive aftershock, then you have another disaster on top of another disaster. So the authorities have shut down all the highways. The rail lines have been shut down. So people cannot get in and out of the city very quickly.

We should point out though, at 3:00 in the morning, normally Tokyo's rails are not moving. But because they stopped moving at 2:40, 2:50 in the afternoon, there's all this backup of people who are still stuck in the city of Tokyo, trying to get home to the suburbs. And we're seeing people hop on bicycles trying to get home or even head on foot home. I've heard people -- people have been tweeting me saying it has taken them three, four hours on foot just to try to get home. But that's what you have to do now.

Here in Tokyo, it's really a matter of inconvenience. A lot of people have been frightened by this earthquake. But we haven't really heard of any severe damage or any huge injuries here. The devastation is certainly what you've been showing us. All that stuff up north. The tsunami coming ashore. Where -- in the next three hours or so, we're expecting daylight. We're certainly going to get a better idea of what's happening up there, Ali.

VELSHI: Give us a sense -- you told us a bit about the rails. What's going on with air travel? We know here many flights from western Europe and the United States have been canceled into and out of Japan, but the airports are not closed.

LAH: The airports here in Japan are open. Certain airports are open. Many of the airports -- I don't have a very recent update, but many of the airports very recently were shut down. So from what we're hearing, the airports, the immediate Tokyo area, if you are going to be trying to fly into Tokyo, which is something at this point the authorities are not recommending, then you're really going to want to check your flight. There is flight travel in and out of some of the airports outside of the Tokyo area, Osaka, further north, further south of Tokyo.

VELSHI: All right, Kyung, we'll follow you on your journey. Let us know when you come across something new and we'll get you back on TV. Kyung Lah heading north out of Tokyo.

GORANI: All right. And we saw some of these images from Tokyo Airport. Do check your flights if you're planning on flying into Tokyo.

Let's go to Chad Myers and Pedram Javaheri (ph) with more on these fears that big tsunami waves are going to hit some parts of the western coast of the United States.

We didn't -- we haven't seen that materialize, have we, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not yet, except for Crescent City. Crescent City, California, we expected 8.2, but now, they just sort of 8.1 feet. That's a very good forecast, to be very honest.

This is actually Santa Cruz, that's KGO, here's KTVU. Santa Cruz harbor, the water, even though this harbor kind of faces to the south, the water has been surging in and out of this harbor and boats have been pushed all over the place.

That boat is on something, not water. That's a sailboat up on land at some point in time. And as the water surges back and forth, because of the literally boats don't have a long enough lines to go with the flow, so to speak, that they have lost the mooring and they've been crashing into each other. It's really been bumper boats for the past hour or so. I have been watching that out of Santa Cruz harbor.

Getting reports from social media more than anything else, Lahaina, up by Kaanapali --this is -- now, we're talking about Maui, had a nine-foot storm surge in the marina. That's not a big marina, but you know, cheeseburger in paradise and all of those nice little places right along the water, some of the water right up to the second floor in Lahaina. That's a west-facing beach, west-facing area, right in Hawaii and all of the energy ran right into it.

There you see the kind of a better shot there how the bumper boats are bumping into each other for the past couple of hours here. That is California.

So, we expect this entire area to continue to move with one wave after another. There seems to be about four waves. The heaviest waves, I think the biggest waves may affect more of South America than North America, and they're just a few hours away.

Hasn't there been enough damage in Chile and places down there in the past couple of years? It looks like we could see bigger waves down there. That's where the energy seems to have gone as this wave just bump pushed the waves to the south.

GORANI: And, Chad, quickly, how many more hours? Anyone watching us on the West Coast, how many hours before it fades, before you know, authorities would issue the all clear there?

MYERS: Good question. The waves that appeared in Maui -- I have watched them four to almost five waves seven feet high. Out -- it was seven feet high, and then seven feet down below the minimum. So, 14-foot difference between the high and the low, and it lasted for three hours.

So, this high and low, and high and low, it could literally go on for two to three more hours all up and down the coast of Oregon, California and, of course, Mexico.

GORANI: All right. But what's important right now is, if you are anywhere along the coastline, bad idea to go to the beach right now.

MYERS: Absolutely.

GORANI: Stay away. All right. Thanks very much.

VELSHI: Well, offers of help are pouring in around the globe to help Japan. We're going to take a look at that when we come back from this break. Our coverage continues.



GORANI: Well, there you have it. This is inside of an office building the moment that the earthquake struck, the sights and the sounds of panic. The fierce jolts rocked Tokyo office buildings for over a minute, and some people said it felt like a lot longer than that.

VELSHI: Well, we are just getting word in now the U.S. Agency for International Development is mobilizing a disaster resistance response team. And the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team, and the Los Angeles County Search and Rescue Team have also mobilized teams. Countries large and small are offering to help Japan recover from today's devastating earthquake, Chile, Greece, Mexico, Slovakia, Indonesia and Australia are just a few of the countries already saying they are ready to lend a hand.

GORANI: But Japan has specifically asked for U.S. assistance.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now live from the Pentagon with details.

What has Japan asked for? What will the U.S. provide, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we began to see overnight, Hala and Ali, is the U.S. Navy begin to swing into action with some of its big ships.

A number of warships now headed to the region, starting with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. It should be in Japan in about 24 hours. It's got two ships with it, and half a dozen or so other additional warships. You see them there headed to Japan, picking up supplies in various parts of the Pacific region, heading into Japan, trying to lend what assistance they can now that the Japanese government has asked for help.

But this effort is likely to grow. What we now know is that the Pentagon has ordered all ships in the Pacific fleet to be ready to go within 24 to 48 hours if the orders come. They want to mobilize as much as they can to be ready.

There will be, as you just pointed out, a good deal of assistance from other countries, assistance from international organizations. But with the U.S. military joining in with the Japanese self-defense forces, the really key thing here is going to be those helicopters that are often on Navy ships that will be flying out of various areas in Japan. Heavy lift, heavy lift helicopters that can bring in aid, food, water, tents, road equipment, that sort of thing, and take out people who are injured or need help or get them to shelter. This is really the workhorse of an international relief operation, and it is what the U.S. military is going to try to offer up first.

VELSHI: Barbara, there is an issue with the nuclear plant where a cooling effort has failed or we think that the cooling effort has failed. The Kyoto news agency reports that the Tokyo Electric Power Company says the pressure inside one reactor is rising and there's risk of a radiation leak, but a cabinet official is saying that attempts to pump water into the reactor to cool it down was successful.

So, we are unclear about what's going on. What's the U.S. military's involvement on this?

STARR: Well, this is all very interesting and not entirely clear. The situation is very fluid to say the least. As you say, a lot of the mixed reports. A fire at least at one Japanese nuclear plant, these cooling problems, mixed reports of whether they were able to cool it down, whether or not there was a radiation leak, some evacuation of Japanese citizens, of course, around this area.

What is very interesting is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier today in Washington that a U.S. Air Force plane took some cooling liquid -- coolant into Japan to help cool down that reactor that they airlifted some supplies in.

I have to tell you -- we asked about that around the Pentagon. So far, no one here has heard about it, but Secretary Clinton was very clear that the U.S. military did fly this mission, bringing coolant into Japan for one of its nuclear power plants that was getting into trouble.

VELSHI: All right. Barbara, we'll stay on top of this with you. If you get more information on this, let us know and we will get it right to air.

STARR: Absolutely.

VELSHI: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

GORANI: All right. Now, of course, we were discussing there with Barbara, the U.S. military's involvement and these fears of the nuclear power plant.

Jim Walsh is joining us from Watertown, Massachusetts. He is a international security analyst with MIT.

Thanks for joining us.

What is your fear -- what fear if you have a fear right now do you have after hearing of this cooling tower issue in one of the plants, after hearing of a fire being put out, but a fire nonetheless in another plant. What are your -- what are your fears?

JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, MIT: Yes, oh, I have two things that I'm concerned about. But before I say that, let me extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Japan. You have picked up international viewers in this last half hour, so I can't tell them how sorry, I am about this.

In terms of what's happening on the ground, it's the cooing system that matters most. The fire is sort of incidental.

This is how it works. You know, even when the warning first came that there was an earthquake, all those plants shutdown, 11 of the plants shutdown. But it's sort of like putting a pan in the oven. You can turn the oven off, but if you go in to reach for that pan, you're going to burn yourself because the pan is still hot. And the reactor core is still hot, even though the plant is shut off.

And so, you need to cool it down so that the fuel inside of that plant doesn't melt. The problem is that the cooling system, the initial cooling system broke down, and then the backup cooling system, which was running on diesel oil, got flooded and broke down. And so, it's not whether they have coolant or not, the key issue is whether they have electricity to pump water into that system to keep the temperature inside the plant at a regulated level.


GORANI: Was this a failure in the way the plant was designed? I mean -- or was this something that couldn't be controlled?

WALSH: Well -- I mean, all of these nuclear power plants have several layers of defense, and lots of backup systems. But this is a case in which the backup system has failed.

Now, we're not at a point of criticality yet, but people were concerned enough that they evacuated and they evacuated in the middle of a tsunami. So, I think that says that they are concerned.

Let me also hasten to add, Hala, that we are focused on the plant right now, but Japan has 55 different plants and more than that, they have other facilities related to their civilian nuclear program -- reprocessing plant, plants for construction of nuclear material to feed into those reactors.

And nobody is really talking about those yet, but all of those have to be inspected and looked at because there could be leakage or problems at any one of those facilities.

VELSHI: Tell me what that means, Jim. What's the danger? Right now on the screen, it says "small radiation leak possible." What's the effect of a small radiation leak? Or as you warn possible other leaks across the country?

WALSH: Well, when people hear radiation, they naturally get very concerned. And it's an environmental issue. Well, that's primarily what we're talking about here. And it would be unwelcomed.

But I would not leap to conclusions. Small releases of radiation happened in the nuclear power industry. The effects tend to be modest. So, I would not overreact to that.

The core issue with the two plants that are shut down and that are having cooling system problems -- the fear there, yes, of radiation leaks, but more so that you might have a catastrophic accident for being unable to keep the reactor cool. That's a sort of meltdown scenario, very likely, doesn't happen very often. But when it does happen as it happened with Chernobyl, it is a big deal.

Now, again, lots of safety systems here. So, this is a plant that has a container vessel that's supposed to contain any problems should problems arise, but you know, we are -- we are in unchartered territory here. So, naturally, people are concerned.

GORANI: All right. Jim Walsh, thanks very much, joining us there from Massachusetts, an international security analyst with MIT. Thank you.

VELSHI: So, we're not out of the woods as Jim says. It seems that it will probably be contained, but you got one problem -- another problem to worry about.

GORANI: And even President Obama was saying that the concern, the initial concern that there might be a radiation leak doesn't seem to have materialized. But, of course, as Jim Walsh said there, we're going to continue to monitor that situation.

VELSHI: Japan's earthquake has sent shock waves around the world. We're going to take a look at the global effects coming up in next "Your Money." Stay with us next.


GORANI: Images there from that massive earthquake. We saw one house kind of pancaked on itself, but that is a rare scene in Japan. These building codes are strict over there, and when you saw the video inside some of the buildings when the earthquake struck swaying dramatically from side to side, that's what they're supposed to do.

VELSHI: That's right. They are built that way. In fact --


VELSHI: -- they -- while the 1995 earthquake in Kobe was very damaging, really, the buildings that have been built since 1981 when they came in with these strict standards have done really well.

GORANI: Yes. And so, that's what gives sort of add the added drama to the moment --

VELSHI: Right.

GORANI: -- when the earthquake struck, as you see all of these walls going back and forth and you think there's no way these buildings are going to withstand --


VELSHI: And some say it is crooked, but they do stand. We're going to talk about that, by the way, later on in the show, the engineering that you have to go through to try to protect a place from a damaging earthquake.

Now, beyond those aftershocks and the tsunamis of Japan's earthquake, how does this disaster affect the rest of the world from markets to energy production? It is possible that this earthquake may have a long and lasting effect on those of us thousands is of miles away.

Christine Romans has been following this very closely from New York.

Christine, depending upon how you count it, Japan is largely thought of as the third largest economy in world if you think of Europe as one big economy, then Japan becomes the fourth. But this is a massive economy that influences all of us.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPODENT: It's a $5.5 trillion economy, Ali. And you're absolutely right, we're still trying to understand the human toll here, and it will be days, weeks even, before we know that.

But we know that it is a huge modern economy with huge modern infrastructures. It's the world's third largest importer of oil. And so, one of the reasons why you're seeing oil prices actually down today a little bit, Ali, they fell below $100 a barrel is because the idea is the demand -- at least in the very near term -- is going to be down, because of the world's third largest oil importer is paralyzed as it tries to deal with the big crisis.

The Nikkei is the stock index there. It was only opened for a short time after the hurricane struck and then before the markets closed for the day. You could see that big decline there when that happened, and then the futures market of the Nikkei markets futures are still open. Those have been drifting lower and drifting down as well.

So, you know, some of the people, the traders that I talked to, you guys said that a lot of people could not place orders because the phones were not working, there was such a short time in Japan to respond to all of this. So, we know that there's still could be some aftereffects there. But the U.S. stocks have moved up a little bit here.

I want to talk about the oil refineries burning, and we saw one picture of that. And you were talking about the nuclear power plant that had been in evacuation around. And we will talk about what the energy infrastructure of this country, 4 million people without power right now, all of this something we're closely watching.

Also closely watching, the Sendai airport where -- the northern part of the country, you saw those pictures as well of people on top of the roof.


ROMANS: This airport is closed.

Narita is now opened again from some flights have been allowed out. But mostly because there are all these people stuck there, the highways are closed going into the major airports. The railways are closed as well. So, you know, you got long lines, people trying to figure out how to get out of to airport, some flights have been allowed out.

But, again, this is one of those things. This is a big economy, $5.5 trillion economy. It is a big global player in the global economy. This is -- even as the human toll is something we're so focusing on right now, this is -- this is a story that will be an important story for all of us in days and weeks ahead.

VELSHI: Christine, you and Hala and I all talk about the business of it. Japan is a major consumer of oil, which is why we saw the drop in oil. But, ultimately, this isn't a society destroyed. For all of the damage that's been done, we're not looking at Haiti. We're looking at a place where a lot of buildings, as you point out, Hala, remain standing. And Japan has the industrial infrastructure to get up and going fast.

So, where markets started the day across the world off by so much, the reality is they will -- they will get back on their feet very quickly.

GORANI: Usually once perspective sinks in

VELSHI: Right.


GORANI: -- you have futures kind of go back up and things like that. And the price of oil, I think, crept back up over $100 a barrel.

ROMANS: And that rebuilding will mean -- will mean that it will be a big consumer of natural resources and of commodities as they begin to rebuild. It will mean jobs and activity and economic growth as well down the road. But you guys, that's a story for days and weeks ahead.

VELSHI: Yes. Right now, we're on the rescue still.

ROMANS: The story today is still unfolding. You're right. There you go.

GORANI: Christine Romans, thanks very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

GORANI: Speaking of the story this minute, at 8:30 a.m. local, and so, we're 14 hours behind here Eastern Time. So, it's right now 3:51 a.m. local in Tokyo. We understand that will be when the next meeting of the Japanese government emergency task force will take place. The Prime Minister Kan, who is currently visiting the quake- hit areas, will be returning to Tokyo in order to take part in these emergency meetings. This is according to the Kyoto news agency.

VELSHI: That's about 4 1/2 hours from now. And as Christine was saying, the airport, Narita, is not closed for any reason that there's any damage there.

GORANI: Right.

VELSHI: They just got congestion. So, they're trying to get flights out. It's the equivalent of what you might know as a ground stop here in the United States. They're not letting a lot of flights to take off to head to Tokyo. But there have been some cancelations there.

GORANI: All right. Well, hundreds of tweets a minute. Next: how Japan's earthquake and tsunami are dominating social media sites today.

We'll be right back.


VELSHI: Remarkable pictures coming in. Sometimes, just that still image gives you a sense of the devastation and the destruction. As much as it's Japan and we know they've got a pretty good handle on this and they've got great engineering, many people have lost their lives and we are still trying to figure out, get a real sense of the full toll.

GORANI: And so many people are just worried. If you have relatives, if you have friends in Japan with these phone lines all jammed up, you can't get through.

So, Google has deployed its people finder program. Here's how it works: if you or someone you know is missing, you can go to Google's people finding and either search for missing people or enter the information you have about someone who may be missing and allows people affected by the disaster to communicate, and it also comes in several languages.

VELSHI: It is available in Japanese. It's especially helpful when normal channels of communication are disrupted during an emergency. It's basically a big clearinghouse for people who can't connect with other people. Same technology was deployed for victims of the earthquake last month in New Zealand and the massive earth quake that hit Haiti last year. It's an excellent, excellent tool.

GORANI: All right. So, we are on Twitter here. We are checking your messages. We're updating you with the latest.

Social media sites are the place many people are turning to to stay on top of breaking news, whether it's out of Japan, Libya, or anywhere else.

CNN's Emily Reuben joins us now from London with more on what's being exchanged, what kind of information, what people are saying on these social media Web sites, Emily.

EMILY REUBEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, right. The earthquake and tsunami have dominated the discussion on social media. It's the number one topic on Twitter. And a record 1,200 tweets a minute were being sent in Tokyo just an hour after the earthquake first struck.

Well, take a look at this. This is trends map. And that gives you an idea of all the tweets, it's tracking all the tweets that are going out around the world right now. And as you can see, the hashtag, tsunami, is the most popular topic stretching from Asia to the Americas.

Now, we've picked out for you some of the tweets across the world. And we're going to Japan now. Someone by the name of Rei who has a family in Sendai, which is, of course, one of the hardest hit places. And she has tweeted that she still "can't get hold of my grandma who lives in Sendai, still missing."

Another tweet here. Setsuko Kamiya tweets, "Never experienced on earthquake this big and affecting so many parts of the country. I'm almost scared to know how this is going to look."

Well, moving to Chile now because this topic is being discussed globally. Maria de Calvo, "Waiting for the tsunami that is supposed to hit later tonight. Fingers crossed here in Chile get through it OK."

And Alexandra Burnsing (ph) in California says, "Can't believe the tsunami is racing toward Cali, hoping it runs out of steam and everyone is OK. We're hunkered down so here's hoping."

And, you know, we're hearing from people in Tokyo that connections are so bad they're using social media, Facebook and Twitter to communicate fast. And many of the phone lines are down.

And you mentioned earlier, Ali, the Google person finder. Well, this was a tool created for the Haiti earthquake. And you can find people you're looking for by just typing in their name. All you simply do is put their name in and any users can share information they have.

And as you said, this was used for victims of the Christchurch earthquake last month, an 11,500 people were kept on this registry.

And, of course, you're watching CNN. You can keep up with all the latest information on where you can see exclusive videos and photos from the affected regions.

Back to you.

GORANI: All right. Emily Reuben in London -- thanks.

VELSHI: Well, our continued coverage at the top of the hour. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.