Japan's tragic earthquake causes huge losses, all-out rescues mobilized (2)

15:32, March 13, 2011      

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Japanese authorities have swiftly responded to emergency mechanisms, dispatching troops to carry out rescue and relief work and coordinate international rescue at the earliest possible time.

At least 3,000 people have been rescued following Friday's great earthquake, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said late Saturday at a meeting of the government's anti-disaster countermeasure unit.

The government announced Saturday it will send a further 30,000 members of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), to join the 20,000 already deployed to assist in the rescue and facilitate the urgent need of support at this crucial time, when hundreds of people were thought to be buried under rubble, stranded on rooftops, or unable to reach evacuation areas.

The defense ministry said that 190 aircraft and about 25 vessels have been or are in the process of being deployed.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said he expected both senior government officials and SDF officers to do everything in their power to deal with the relief efforts.

In collaboration with the U.S. military, the SDF will ferry 900 Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) personnel and 250 vehicles by U.S. ships, to quake- stricken coastal regions.

It also said joint rescue missions will be conducted by Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. 7th Fleet in joint rescue missions off the Pacific coast.

It was the largest-ever anti-disaster mission ever carried out between the two forces in Japan, the defense ministry said.

GSDF forces arrived Saturday to ensure the safe evacuation of local people living near two stricken nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture that was made malfunctioned by the earthquake. Around 3,000 residents have been safely transferred.

Medical teams from 52 hospitals from around the nation have been sent to the quake-hit areas to help treat the injured.


Many countries across the world have expressed condolence and offered a helping hand to Japan.

A total of 50 nations and regions have promised to provide with relief support, and offers from over 70 specialist rescue services from around the globe have been received by Japan, with crews from Australia, News Zealand, South Korea being requested to join a 150- member team from the United States making its way to the devastated northeast of the country.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao expressed "deep sympathy and solicitudes to the Japanese government and people" Friday, and said China is willing to offer necessary assistance to Japan.

"Chinese seismic workers know exactly what Japanese people feel right now. We are willing to offer assistance to Japan anytime," Chen Jianmin, director of the China Earthquake Administration, said Friday in a condolence message sent to Mitsuhiko Hatori, director-general of the Japan Meteorological Agency.

China's International Rescue Team has put its members, equipment, materials and medicines in place since late Friday afternoon and are ready to depart for Japan to offer humanitarian assistance anytime,Chen added.

The UN Security Council members on Friday observed a moment of silence to mourn those killed in the disaster. Earlier in the day, Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon expressed his deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and government, saying that the United Nations will "do anything and everything" to help Japan.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has activated the European Civil Protection Mechanism to assist Japan.

Local reports said more than 215,000 people were in emergency shelters in eastern and northern Japan.

Rescue and recovery efforts continued as numerous aftershocks were expected for the coming days.

Source: Xinhua
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