TODAY   |  March 11, 2011

200 bodies found in Japan as result of tsunami

The tsunami that occurred after an earthquake hit Japan has caused many deaths. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> by a huge earthquake in japan . we are getting tragic news from there. police say 200 to 300 bodies have just been found. anne thompson has the latest. anne? terrible news.

>> reporter: they are telling us -- japanese police say the bodies were found in a northeast coastal area. it is unidentified as of this hour. if you're asking how can so many people die in such a short period of time, consider this. when a tsunami moves through the water is moving at a speed of up to 620 miles per hour. can you imagine that? you have no time to get out of the way. as you can see, it just sweeps people up and away. there are reports of a ship being submerged in the northeast section of japan with a hundred people on board. now this report of 200 to 300 bodies found in a coastal area. they expect the death toll to be devastating. an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. the biggest earthquake to hit japan in 140 years. that tsunami afterwards, the japanese government is bracing for just a day of bad news, news consistently getting worse as they try -- as the water recedes and they can see the damage that was done to their country. meredith, back to you.

>> so difficult to assess casualties. because, as you said, people are either swept away by the tsunami and there are people trapped in are you able from the earthquake. you have no idea what condition they are in. we're back in a moment. this is