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USAR team welcomed home from Japan

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister of Internal Affairs

20 March 2011 Media Statement

USAR team welcomed home from Japan

The New Zealand USAR team have been welcomed home from Japan by Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy today, after their first ever overseas deployment ended this weekend.

"I'm proud of this team, many of whom have gone straight from working in Christchurch to help Japan in their time of need. It shows the professionalism and dedication of our rescue workers.

"After the Christchurch earthquake, Japan had no hesitation in offering help and I'm glad New Zealand could do the same.

"Sadly, there is appears to be little chance of any more successful rescues in Japan given the cold and harsh conditions - at times reaching minus 17 degrees celsius. Other international rescue teams are now returning home as well.

"The team faced difficult conditions in the Minamisanriku area, which was devastated by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami. They faced freezing temperatures and destruction on a huge scale.

"The team are tired but in good spirits, and looking forward to a well deserved break before returning to work.

"The last month has shown what an important part of the Fire Service our USAR teams are, and what a valuable role they play in emergencies."

The USAR team were welcomed home at Auckland Airport this morning by their families, Mr Guy, Fire Service Chair Dame Margaret Bazely, and other Fire Service officials.

Media contact: Phil Rennie 021 405 443

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