Japan has been hit by a massive tsunami in the wake of a magnitude 8.9 earthquake. More than 300 people are reported dead and 500 are missing.

The 33-foot wave struck the country's northeast coast. Witnesses are reporting numerous injuries and ships being washed ashore. Tsunami warnings were issued to Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua new Guinea, Hawaii, Australia, Mexico.

While it is important to heed government tsunami warnings, preparation is become equally important. Here are few methods and sources to go about it -- including some handy apps for your smartphone.

Google has put up the Tsunami alert on its homepage showing the geographies that may face Tsunami waves soon.  Google has also introduced a webpage to find missing people. If any users have information about someone, they can enter the name and provide related information. People searching can enter the person's name or parts of the name.

The best source of information in a tsunami situation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NWS), operates two tsunami warning centers, the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WC/ATWC) in Palmer, Alaska, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.  The WC/ATWC serves as warning center for Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California while PTWC serves Hawaii and as a national/international warning center for tsunamis that pose a Pacific-wide threat.

Always look for warnings on local radio and television stations and keep watch on NOAA Weather Radio, which broadcasts warnings, watches, forecasts and hazard information 24 hours a day. It covers 50 states and U.S. Pacific territories. 

A website known as http://72hours.org/ will guide you if you aren;t prepared with the emergency kit in the house. The plans issued in the website show you how to be on your own for 72 hours.  It shows how to prepare, make a plan, and build a kit and get involved during emergencies. Moreover the website covers topics related to how to handle home safety, make sure one has supplies and guide children, seniors and the disabled. And one can print the entire guide as a PDF.

An android application known as Tsunami Alert will alert you when a potentially dangerous tsunami has occurred and provides with real-time data from NOAA's Tsunami Warning Centers. Get information from the United States, Canada, and countries along the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Sea.

Users can download an NHK World TV Live application from the App Store keeping you updated around the clock. The application is free. Another application of iPhone is Earth Watch which provides near-real time Earthquake and Tsunami alerts.