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UK-ISAR team deployed to center of the disaster zone in Japan

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Specialist firefighters from KFRS along with U.S. teams set up their base in Ofunato city, Japan

The UK-ISAR team, including seven specialist firefighters from Kent Fire and Rescue Service, has set up its base in a school in Sumita, north Japan, near Ofunato, along with teams from the United States. This is in an area 20km outside of the city area that has been assessed as being completely safe from any further aftershocks or resultant tsunamis.

There have been difficulties experienced with communications for the UK team but regular communications have been established with our US colleagues working with the UK-ISAR team who have confirmed that the crew are fit and well. Around 200 Urban Search and Rescue staff from UK-ISAR and the United States began search operations and have been hard at work in the search and rescue operation in the city of Ofunato, Japan. This morning at 6am local time the full team was deployed to the centre of the disaster zone in Ofunato where they cleared a large industrial district and residential area. Although bodies were recovered, no survivors have been found so far. The team will be tasked overnight with new operations.

The town has been sectioned into search areas and it is estimated that it will take two days for the team to complete the search before being mobilised to another area.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development said: "We can all be proud of the UK's search and rescue experts, who are doing a great job under tough conditions. They are working alongside Japanese colleagues to give much-needed help and support to that country in its time of dire need."

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