Disaster. No matter when and where, it always looks the same.
Watching news from Japan I can't help thinking about the great 1923 earthquake that destroyed Tokyo and Yokohama, killing 105 thousand (official data, 2005). About 40 thousand Japanese and foreigners were proclaimed missing, their remnants never found. Hundreds were killed in ethnic clashes that began in the aftermath of the quake, sparked by wild rumors.
The earthquake caused firestorms and was "accompanied" by tsunami and typhoon. You can read about it in Wikipedia or elsewhere. Here, let's just look at the pictures.
There was no nuclear power then.
If you're willing to help the people of Japan you're welcome to check useful links in Larry's post, telling the story of another disaster: the Aleutian tsunami (1946).