People and communities in Japan have been devastated by what will likely be classified as one of the 5 largest earthquakes in recorded human history. The impact of the resulting tsunami may prove even more devastating. The Sendai earthquake (preliminary magnitude 8.9) struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan on the boundary between the Pacific and North America plates at 2:46 p.m. local time today, and waves of water generated by that event continued to sweep across the Pacific ocean and coastal towns (see video below) in the subsequent hours.
As is increasingly the case, Web resources are being put into action to find loved ones, map damage, chart emergency facilities, spread news and rally humanitarian aid. Directories of Web services are being compiled by CNET, Network for Good, MSNBC, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and others. The Ushahidi platform and OpenStreetMap have once again been placed into action to allow citizens to report and track resources, missing persons, and dangerous situations. Google launched its Person Finder within 2.5 hours of the main shock.
Thoughts and prayers go out to people who are struggling in the affected communities, and to those aiding in the rescue and recovery efforts. Heartfelt appreciation goes out to those who are applying their skill and tools to create Web services that expand and expedite those efforts.