Japanese Red Cross medical teams leaving headquarters

Update (15:30 – Sun 13 March): We’re receiving a lot of questions about volunteering in Japan or sending goods. Please see our website for information on why we don’t send volunteers overseas and why we cannot send goods to disaster zones.

Update (2pm – Sat 12 March): We are now accepting donations for Japan. Please donate to the Red Cross Japan tsunami appeal.

Update (10:30am – Sat 12 March): Please see the latest statement from the British Red Cross on the response to the Japan earthquake.

In my post this morning, I said we were keeping an eye on what was happening in Japan and other countries in the Pacific that lay in the path of the tsunami.

Throughout the day, tsunami warnings have been lifted from some – but not all – of the countries around the Pacific Ocean.

The pictures and videos coming in from Japan are very distressing. 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.

Our head of disaster management, Katy Attfield, has said: “The devastation in Japan is clear, and this was an absolutely huge earthquake. That said, Japan is very well prepared for this kind of disaster, and they are not 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.

“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.

“The Red Cross is helping evacuate people away from coastal areas. We’re doing all we can and the British Red Cross is ready to respond wherever we may be needed.”

The British Red Cross is ready to respond in support of the Japanese Red Cross should there be a call for international assistance. Please keep checking our website for updates.

Find out how to contact family in Japan


We’ve had a lot of comments asking how people can donate for Japan.

We cannot accept donations specifically for Japan unless the Japanese Red Cross asks for international donations. We really appreciate how willing everyone is to give, and if we do start taking donations for Japan we will let you know.