Earthquake in Japan (March 2011) — 4

11 March 2011 — Last update: 22:20 GMT; 07:20 (12 March 2011) in Japan

At 5:45 AM local time, the government has ordered the evacuation of all residents within a 10 km radius of the Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant (marked on the bottom map by a blue balloon). Presumably this is in preparation for releasing the steam that contains radioactive materials.

[Added] It has emerged that 8 times the normal level of radiation has been detected at the main gate of nuclear power plant suggesting a leak.

[Added] 1,000 times the normal level of radiation detected in the central control room.

Fires are ranging in many cities, Kesennuma in particular, ravaging a large area. And many more cities and towns are reporting destroyed homes, but many areas have not yet been assessed for damages. The picture would only emerge later in the morning.

There have been more quakes in northern Nagano, cenetral Niigata prefectures, which is a cause for concern.