Quake Brings Tokyo to a Standstill

Hordes look for emergency shelter with no way to get home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2011 2:06 PM CST
Quake Brings Tokyo to a Standstill
Stranded shoppers sit on the floor of a department store as train and bus services were suspended.   (Shuji Kajiyama)

Japan's huge earthquake brought super-modern Tokyo to a standstill today, paralyzing trains that normally run like clockwork and stranding hordes of commuters carrying mobile phones rendered largely useless by widespread outages. The magnitude-8.9 quake shook buildings in the capital, left millions of homes across Japan without electricity, shut down the mobile phone network, and severely disrupted landline telephone service. It brought Tokyo's train system to a halt, choking a daily commuter flow of more than 10 million people.

Tokyo prides itself on being an orderly, technologically savvy, even futuristic city. Residents usually can rely on a huge, criss-crossing network of train and subway lines, but authorities were forced to scan the entire web for quake damage and canceled nearly all train service for the day. Tens of thousands of people milled at train stations, roamed the streets or hunkered down at 24-hour cafes, hotels, and government offices offered as emergency accommodations. Click for more. (More Japan stories.)

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