THE devastating images of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continue to shock as the scale of the tragedy becomes evident.
Film of the explosions at nuclear plants and the crushing power of the tsunami as it came ashore bring an immediacy to a natural disaster like never before.
There are fears for the lives of tens of thousands after Friday's cataclysmic events, with rescuers finding hundreds of bodies.
Japan, one of the most technologically advanced economies in the world, is struggling to cope with the aftermath. There are very real concerns about nuclear meltdowns, with the threat of radiation fallout.
Irish citizens in Japan have rightly called off St Patrick's Day celebrations as a mark of solidarity with the grieving people of Japan.
Many countries, including Ireland, have offered aid, but as the real gravity of the situation in Japan grows, it is clear that simple supplies may not be enough and rapid response teams must be sent.