News / Asia

UN Search and Rescue Experts Ready To Go To Japan

Fishing boats are swept by a tsunami in Oarai City in Ibaragi Prefecture, northeastern Japan March 11, 2011
Fishing boats are swept by a tsunami in Oarai City in Ibaragi Prefecture, northeastern Japan March 11, 2011
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations says it is ready to send expert teams to Japan to assist in search and rescue efforts in the wake of the massive tsunami that struck the northeastern part of Japan early Friday morning.  The U.N. reports their experts are in direct contact with directors of disaster relief teams in Japan.  

A U.N. spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs, says 35 international search and rescue teams are on alert.  She says they are monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist.

“They are on standby, they are on alert and ready to go, should Japan request," said Byrs. "But so far, this is the usual process, there is no U.N. team deployed.”  

Byrs says the United Nations draws its experts from a network of search and rescue teams in 80 countries.  As soon as emergency help is requested, she says the U.N. immediately sends the teams that are closest to the disaster.

In the meantime, the International Red Cross Federation says evacuations have been successfully carried out in countries considered to be particularly vulnerable.  They include the Philippines, Pacific Island States and Papua New Guinea.

The Red Cross previously had warned the waves triggered by the tsunami could be higher than some Pacific islands.  But spokesman Paul Conneally tells VOA the waves are smaller than originally predicted.  However, he cautions against complacency.

“As the situation looks right now, I think that these islands will have managed to dodge a major tsunami intact," said Conneally. "But then, the logistics differ as well from island to island.  In some islands, yes, you can evacuate people by air.  In other islands like Vanuatu, for instance, they are very dispersed, and the infrastructure is not necessarily there.  So, it is a major challenge.  It is going to be an ongoing concern in a region, which is very disaster prone.”  

Conneally says there is a lot of uncertainty about the extent of the tsunami and how it might evolve.  He notes tsunami alerts have been issued for the Asia-Pacific region, for the Americas and for Kenya.

He says the extent of the damage and loss of life from the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan will not be known for some time.  But given the scale of the disaster, he says it is bound to be widespread and very significant.  

The Red Cross spokesman says the Japanese have an excellent capacity to respond to disasters.  He notes many Red Cross volunteers are on the ground and are working closely with heavily affected local communities.  In addition, 11 Japanese disaster response teams are carrying out emergency operations.  

“Looking at the areas of health, shelter and nutrition and psychological support," he said. "And, they are increasing their deployments by the hour.  And, really in Japan as the waters recede, probably in another 24 hours or so, we will begin to see exactly what is required in terms of disaster response.”  

Conneally says a major clean-up operation will be required.  He says there will be a lot of threats from aftershocks, and the Red Cross will have to keep a very close watch on this and reinforce support.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid