Friday 11 March 2011
For further information
Mark South: MSouth@redcross.org.uk, 0207 877 7042 or out of hours 07659 145095
The Japanese Red Cross has sent 18 emergency teams to the affected areas to assess damage and needs, to provide first aid and give practical and emotional support.
More teams will be deployed as needs become clear, and plans are being drawn up for potential relief distributions if they are needed.
The devastation in Japan is clear, and this was an absolutely huge earthquake,” said Katy Attfield, British Red Cross head of disaster management.
“That said, Japan is very well prepared for this kind of disaster, and at the moment the indications are that they will not be asking for international support.
“Our big concern now is for countries across the pacific who could be hit by a tsunami. As we saw in 2004, tsunamis are some of the most devastating natural disasters and can cause even more damage than the earthquakes which create them.”
A widespread severe tsunami warning is now in effect covering much of the pacific and central and southern America.
It is feared that the wave could be higher than some Pacific islands are above sea level.
"The Red Cross has triggered all its response mechanisms in the Pacific region.
Our main concern now is to get people out of harm's way,” added Attfield
“The Red Cross is helping evacuate people away from coastal areas, we’re doing all we can and the British Red Cross is standing ready to respond wherever we may be needed.”
The British Red Cross has a Disaster Fund - www.redcross.org.uk/disasterfund - which helps us be prepared for disasters.
All donations to the Disaster Fund are distributed according to where the need is greatest, here in the UK or overseas, and cannot be restricted to particular countries.
The British Red Cross is ready to respond in support of the Japanese Red Cross should there be a call for our assistance. Please keep checking our website for updates.
Red Cross contacts in region:
Patrick FULLER, Zone communications manager, Asia Pacific Zone
Work tel: +60 3 9207 5700
Mobile: +60 12 230 8451
Reeni AMIN CHUA, Zone communications officer
Work tel: +60 392 07 5700
Mobile: +60 19 274 4968
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk or follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/britishredcross
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives. For more information please visit www.redcross.org.uk