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The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan this morning are the trending topics on Twitter in the UK — and everywhere else around the world today.  Japan, tsunami, and Sendai, the northern Japanese city closest to the quake’s epicenter, were all trending topics, as was the hashtag #prayforjapan.

In the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain was offering assistance to Japan in the form of humanitarian aid and search and rescue teams, the BBC reported.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said British search and rescue teams were on were on four hours’ notice to fly to the disaster zone. “It is clear Japan has some of the most sophisticated search and rescue people in the world,” Mitchell said, “but if we are asked for any technical or additional support, then of course we will give it.”

Both the Queen and Prince Charles sent messages of sympathy to Japan’s Emperor Akihito.

@BBCWorld: Japan hit by strong magnitude 6.6 aftershock just hours after it was hit by massive 8.9 quake:

@BBCWorld: #Japan #earthquake ruptured a patch of the earth’s crust that is 240km long and 80km wide, US Geological Survey says, from AP

@BBCWorld: VIDEO: Concerns over Japan’s nuclear plants

@Telegraph: Entire Japanese city on fire after earthquake

@Persie_Official:‎ I just can’t stop thinking about the images from the Earthquake in japan. Makes me very sad to see this

@churchnewspaper: Churches rally support after Japan earthquake:

@gnasri8‎: prayers go to all people in Japan. Hard to think of what to say to something like this.

@eph_tom:‎ ‘The people of Japan are in our thoughts ‘ Unfortunately, this means absolutely nothing to them. Pray.

@davidmonteith: The headline you won’t be reading: “Millions saved in Japan by good engineering and government building codes”. But it’s the truth.

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By Paul Hechinger