World extends helping hand to quake-ravaged Japan

March 13th, 2011 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Beijing, March 12 (IANS) International rescue teams have rushed to the earthquake-stricken Japan which has witnessed massive devastation in its northeastern parts.

About 1,700 people are feared to have been killed in the Friday’s devastating 8.9-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

China’s Red Cross Society decided to donate 1 million yuan (around $152,087) in emergency aid to its Japanese counterpart, Xinhua reported.

Two Chinese associations — the China-Japan Friendship Association and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries — donated 100,000 yuan ($15,400) as a gesture of support for the quake relief effort.

US President Barack Obama pledged American assistance following what he called a potentially “catastrophic” disaster.

Obama said one US aircraft carrier was already in Japan and a second was on its way. Washington has also dispatched urban search and rescue teams, said US Ambassador John Roos.

Britain was to send a team of search and rescue experts to Japan later Saturday to help in the rescue effort, said the British government.

Following a direct appeal from the Japanese government, Britain will dispatch a team of 59 fire service search and rescue specialists, two rescue dogs and a medical support team to join the international relief effort in earthquake-stricken Japan.

The team will take up to 11 tonnes of rescue equipment, including heavy lifting and cutting equipment to help save the lives of people trapped in the debris.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has sent a search and rescue team comprising 15 doctors and medical assistants as well as six tracker dogs.

According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, it has been instructed by President Dmitry Medvedev to prepare necessary forces and resources to provide assistance to Japan.

Six planes, including an airborne hospital, 200 rescuers, psychologists and doctors are ready to fly to Japan if asked by the Japanese, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian government donated $100,000 as relief for the victims.

A team of five officers from the urban search and rescue contingent of the Singapore Civil Defence Force and five search dogs have left for Japan.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore stands ready to assist in any way it can.

“As the international community rallies round to offer support, we will in our little way do what we can to lend support and bring some succor to those who have been affected by this natural disaster,” said Nigerian Foreign Minister Odien Ajumogobia.

Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama expressed his government’s readiness “to provide assistance if needed” and to work with the Japanese government to give relief to the affected communities.

A Mexican rescue team, made up of 20 professional rescuers, three analysts of building structures, and 10 sniffer dogs, has left for Japan. A second team was being assembled and would leave Saturday.

A five-member South Korean rescue team and two search dogs have been sent to Japan at the request of the Japanese government.

In addition, South Korea currently has three military transport planes and a 120-member relief team on standby.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Red Cross also began recruiting volunteers and raising relief funds to help Japan.

Thousands of people are still unaccounted for in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami devastated large areas of the country.

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