A massive earthquake, the seventh largest recorded in history, struck the east coast of Japan on Friday 11 March. The earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, triggered a tsunami which hit the east coast of Japan with seven-metre-high waves, leaving a trail of destruction. Reports say that more than 1,000 people have died in the disaster, with many more missing and many injured. The earthquake triggered fires and caused severe damage to buildings, leaving more than five million homes without electricity and a million without water. The Japanese Red Cross has been working on the ground since the disaster began, mobilising 86 teams, made up of around 600 doctors, nurses and support staff, to provide first aid and healthcare and assess the damage and needs of the communities affected. More than 300,000 people who were evacuated before the tsunami struck have been housed in temporary centres set up in schools and public buildings where the Red Cross is distributing thousands of blankets. The Japanese Red Cross has agreed to accept donations from the UK. In the event that we receive more donations to the Japan Tsunami Appeal than the Japanese Red Cross and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement can reasonably and efficiently spend, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to humanitarian disasters both here in the UK and overseas. Please make a donation to the Japan Tsunami Appeal to help those affected. You can make a donation via redcross.org.uk\/japantsunami or by phoning 08450 53 53 53.