DOHA: A Qatari student who studies in the quake-battered Japanese coastal city of Sendai and all other Qataris in different parts of Japan are safe amid the devastation wrought by the the biggest earthquake that hit the country on Friday.
Amr Hassouna, Public Relations Officer at the Qatari Embassy in Japan, said in a telephone interview with The Peninsula that all Qatari citizens are safe and that the embassy is doing all it can to provide them assistance if they need it.
“We want to inform all people in Qatar who have sons, daughters and friends in Japan that they are in safe hands. We are extending all possible assistance. It is our job to make sure that they are safe,” Hassouna said.
An estimated 15 to 20 Qataris including Qatari diplomats and their families stay in Japan. Most Qataris in Japan live either in Tokyo or Yokohama which are far from the northeast of the country where the tsunami struck.
“We have been in touch with everybody to ask what kind of assistance they might need. So far only eight people have requested to return home,” Hassouna said. Hassouna said Qatari student Eisa El Samani who lives in Sendai, and studies at the Sendai Language School, called up the embassy to say that she was all right.
He assured Samani’s family in Qatar that the student remains in close contact with him.
Another Qatari national, Jassim Darwish, head of the Qatargas office in Japan, was in Hokkaido island when the disaster occurred. Darwish has called the Embassy to assure them that he is safe.
Four Qataris have already boarded a Qatar Airways flight bound to Doha yesterday and were expected to arrive at 5:10 this morning. Four other countrymen are set to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha today.
“We just want to make it clear that the Embassy did not ask anyone to evacuate. It is the person’s initiative that they wanted to leave Japan as a precaution for other earthquakes,” Hassouna said adding that the situation in Tokyo was not as serious that it warranted immediate evacuation.
The Embassy is following the announcements by the Japanese government and has maintained constant contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doha still monitoring the situation in Japan.
By CHRIS V PANGANIBAN and EMME SUELTO
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