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How Travelers Can Get Assistance after the Earthquake in Japan

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, triggering a tsunami that came ashore across much of the surrounding area -- including the city of Sendai, which is about 80 miles away.

The full extent of the damage and loss of life is still unknown. News reports have not indicated any major damage to the city of Tokyo. Airports were closed and rail service interrupted throughout much of Japan Friday.

Tsunami warnings have been issued across much of the Pacific Rim -- from Australia to Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast. Coastal areas of Hawaii were evacuated Friday morning and airports in Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island were shut down Friday as a precaution.

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert and set up an e-mail address for American citizens who need assistance: JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov .

Travelers with upcoming trips to Japan should contact their travel provider for details and updates. Several airlines have waived re-booking fees for travel to, through and from Japan.

There is a Web tool from Google to help locate missing people in Japan. The Google Crisis Response Center also has realtime updates on the damage and helpful links.

Those wishing to donate through the American Red Cross can make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or find more information here.

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Deal Expert, New York
Friday, March 11, 2011
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Andrew Young