Today has brought devastation to Japan’s northeast coast. At 2:46 p.m. on Friday (their local time), the largest earthquake in the country’s recorded history — with a magnitude of 8.9 — caused massive upheaval in cities and villages and triggered several serious tsunamis. One tsunami, 10 metres high, prompted alerts along Canada’s Pacific coast. According to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency, at least 40 people are dead. That number is expected to rise as officials begin the overwhelming task of assessing the damage and finding those who need help. The earthquake ranks fifth among all quakes worldwide registered in the past 111 years. It was followed by at least 19 powerful aftershocks. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has appeared on television, urging all Japanese to remain calm. “The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Kan said, asking people along Japan’s 2,100-kilometre east coast to move to higher ground in case of more expected tsunamis. Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade says there are no reports of harmed Canadians, but anyone seeking information about Canadians in Japan is asked to call DFAIT at 613-943-1055, or toll free within Canada at 1-800-387-3124.