World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Rushes Help To Tsunami-Stricken Japan

From Blankets To Satellite Phones, UN Rushes Help To Tsunami-Stricken Japan

New York, Mar 17 2011 12:10PM
From blankets to emergency communications equipment to technological expertise, United Nations agencies are rushing assistance to Japan to help cope with the multi-front disaster caused by last week’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant breakdown.

The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has already sent emergency equipment to areas severely affected by the tsunami, noting that re-establishing communications is a “critical tool” to ensure timely support for victims and rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the immediate aftermath of a disaster in which more than 5,000 people died, nearly 9,000 others are missing, and vast swathes of coast and infrastructure were overwhelmed by massive waves.

Among material already deployed are 78 Thuraya satellite phones equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to facilitate search and rescue efforts, along with 13 Iridium satellite phones and 37 Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals. An additional 30 Inmarsat terminals are ready for dispatch. The equipment can be charged by car batteries and are supplied with solar panels to enable operations during power outages.

“ITU is prepared to help the Government and people of Japan in every way possible in their hour of need and to deal with the colossal tragedy that has overwhelmed the country with unimaginable loss of life and property,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said.

On the technology front International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano is set to make a flying visit to Japan to see what further help the UN agency that coordinates global nuclear safety can offer for the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where a loss of power to the cooling systems has led to explosions, the release of radiation and the threat of further contamination.

The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism, is monitoring the direction of winds and the potential path of any radioactive plume from the power plant.

As to immediate relief for the thousands of survivors who have now spent six freezing nights, many without heating, water or sanitation, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is deploying experts in logistics and supply chain management to help facilitate swift movement of needed supplies. It has already started assisting in the transport of 60,000 blankets to affected areas, where some 23,000 people are estimated to still remain isolated.

“Today WFP stands with Japan, one of the most generous humanitarian nations on earth that has always been there when others have needed help,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, citing “the epic logistical challenges they face in their heroic rescue efforts.”

As the lead logistics agency for the UN in emergency operations across the globe, WFP has built up decades of experience in delivering food and other relief items in challenging environments, and is relied upon across the world to provide transport for the entire humanitarian community, moving goods and people across huge distances and often in hostile and remote environments.

Meanwhile, a joint contingent comprising a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and a United States Disaster Assistance Response Team flew from Tokyo on US military helicopters today for an on-site assessment of the stricken areas.

At Oarai, a small town in Ibaraki prefecture, they conducted an aerial survey before landing and securing ground transport to assess tsunami damage within the city. Considerable damage to boats and some shore-front properties was observed, and locals reported fuel and food shortages due to damaged roads into the area, which made it difficult to bring in supplies.

The team then attempted to fly to Sendai, the largest city in the stricken area that was particularly devastated by the tsunami, but bad weather over the mountains prevented the helicopters from proceeding, forcing the team back to Tokyo.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news