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UK Sends Japan Assistance

The UK has sent a rescue to Japan to join the search for survivors after the earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. The team includes 59 search and rescue experts, 4 medics and 2 sniffer dogs, who were all flown out on a private charter, which carried 11 tones of equipment.

The Department for International Development put together the International Search and Rescue (ISAR) team that arrived in Japan around 11am GMT on Sunday. A department spokesman says the team will start working at first light on Monday alongside American search and rescue experts. ISAR national coordinator Peter Crook said that they are fighting against the clock and logistical challenges to find survivors.

Recent estimates from officials fear that more than 10,000 people were killed in the disaster. David Warren, the British ambassador to Japan, said that there are some cases of nationals being unaccounted for. Over 3,200 people had called the FCO’s emergency helpline by 8am GMT on Sunday, expressing concern for relatives and friends that could have been affected by the quake.

Warren said that he and his team went to 6 major hospitals, but there weren’t any cases of British casualties reported. However, the situation is evolving since this is only day two (as of Sunday). They are set to go back to these areas today to check again, he noted. He also said that the majority of the 17,000 Brits living in Japan were in Osaka or Tokyo.

The FCO has also stationed another 45 consular staff in Japan, while embassy response teams are at Haneda and Narita airports to help nationals and to make arrangements with airlines. They have been working around the clock, the agency said.



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