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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid