DEVASTATING JAPANESE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI.
Concern is growing over "inevitable" British casualties caught up in the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Two days on from the disaster, the Foreign Office said there were no confirmed casualties from the UK, but they received more than 4,000 calls from worried loved-ones and Government officials, expats in Japan and relatives in the UK are fearing the worst.
Around 17,000 British nationals were believed to be living and working in the country when the catastrophic quake struck at 5.46am UK time on Friday. Seismology experts said the huge quake - one of the largest ever recorded - actually had a magnitude of 9.0, rather than the previously reported figure of 8.9.
English teacher Jenny Tamura Spragg, 33, who lives in Saitama, described how people were queuing for miles for petrol, shops were selling out of basic food and power saving cuts were being introduced.
She said: "Supermarkets have sold out of rice, bread, milk, bottled water and other daily necessities as people stock up out of precaution or fear that another big one will hit. As far as British expats safety is concerned, I would say that British casualties is an inevitable reality."
Just before 11am UK time on Sunday, a UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR) team, organised by the Department for International Development, arrived in Japan to assist in the rescue effort. Both teams will remain at the US Misawa air base overnight, before joining the international effort to search for live victims that may be trapped in the debris.
The UK-ISAR team is made up of Urban Search and Rescue specialists from Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, West Sussex, West Midlands, and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services.
All the staff at Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire wishes to send their sincere thoughts and wishes to all families and friends who have loved ones in Japan at this very worrying time. We also send our condolences to families who have lost loved ones in this horrendous catastrophe.