This is a guest post from Charles Williams, our editorial manager:

Lady in a wheelchair pushed by Red Cross volunteerI’ve just got off a conference call with the Japan Red Cross, who shared with us some headline figures about the disaster and their response to it. Some of them are staggering. All figures are approximate and will no doubt change quickly, but this is a snapshot of the current situation.

The disaster

-2,000 people confirmed dead

-10,000 more people expected to be confirmed dead

-2,000 people injured

-530,000 people displaced, staying in 2,500 evacuation centres, such as schools and public halls

-24,000 people still completely isolated and cannot be reached

-1.2 million homes without power

-1.4 million homes without water

-4,700 destroyed houses

-50,000 damaged houses

-582 roads cut off

-32 bridges destroyed

The Japan Red Cross has a well-defined role in Japan’s emergency plans, providing first aid and emergency healthcare services, as well as distributing relief items. It is a large, well-funded organisation and is coping admirably with the extent of the disaster. Its involvement makes up part of a wider, co-ordinated response, including central and local government, emergency services and national defence forces.

Japan Red Cross overview

-47 ‘chapters’, or branches, across Japan

-212 blood centres

-2 million volunteers

-85 medical teams deployed so far, including 735 staff members

-65,000 blankets distributed to date

-1,400 entries made on website launched to help people trace family members

Photo credit: IFRC