News / Asia

World Leaders Offer Sympathy, Assistance to Quake-Ravaged Japan

Houses lie flattened after a powerful earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011
Houses lie flattened after a powerful earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Meredith Buel

Many world leaders are expressing shock and sympathy following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and are offering to assist the country as it struggles to recover from the disaster.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged assistance for what he called a potentially catastrophic disaster in Japan.

The president called Japan one of America’s strongest allies and said the U.S. is offering whatever assistance is needed. "We currently have an aircraft carrier in Japan and another is on its way. We also have a ship en route to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed. The Defense Department is working to account for all our military personnel in Japan."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said a preliminary assessment indicates that American troops, ships and military facilities were not seriously damaged by the quake or tsunami.  

Gates says the military, which has enormous assets in the Pacific, is ready to assist in rescue and recovery efforts. "It's obviously a very sophisticated country, but this is a huge disaster and we will do all, anything we are asked to do to help out."

The U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes  is reporting a carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan  was diverted to Japan as it sailed toward South Korea for military exercises.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, arriving in Brussels for a European summit, sent his sympathies and condolences to the Japanese people. "We have had a terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature and everyone should be thinking of that country and their people and I have asked immediately that our government should look at what we can do to help”"

Also in Brussels, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said his country stands ready to help the Japanese people. "I think it is the worst earthquake and tsunami that they have seen in Japan for 140 years and a lot of people are now killed, and there will be huge human effects to this. We should do anything in our power to listen in if we can support the Japanese people."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also offered his country’s assistance, saying France is planning to send planes and other resources to assist in Japan.

Sarkozy told reporters the images of the disaster have stirred great emotions in France and said his government is prepared to send teams of aid workers to help in what he called a catastrophe that apparently is without precedent.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in televised remarks that high tsunami waves have reached his country’s territory and Moscow is ready to help Japan recover. He also said Russia is ready to help its neighbors cope with the aftermath of the earthquake and he has ordered the Russian emergencies minister to submit proposals for assistance.

The United Nations says it is ready to send expert teams to Japan to assist in search and rescue efforts.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Japan as a nation known for helping other countries in need of emergency assistance. "Japan is one of the most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need the world over. In that spirit, the United Nations stands by the people of Japan and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time."

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao also expressed deep sympathy for the Japanese people and officials from China’s Earthquake Administration told the Xinhua news agency that rescuers are prepared to travel to those areas affected by the quake.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid