UN Secretary-General pledges assistance after earthquake and tsunami hit Japan

UN Secretary-General pledges assistance after earthquake and tsunami hit Japan

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed deep sorrow and offered the full support of the UN after a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated Japan.

“I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and Government, and most especially to those who lost family and friends in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami,” said Secretary-General Ban.

As consequence, dozens of people were killed and towns, villages and large swathes of infrastructure were destroyed. The initial 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit east of Sendai in Japan, on the nation’s main island of Honshu, at about 2.46 p.m. local time.

Numerous large aftershocks struck soon after and large tsunamis hit northeastern coastlines and regions near Tokyo, submerging entire cities and villages. In Tokyo, where people fled from buildings, fires were seen burning and clouds of black smoke were rising above the city’s skyline.

“The world is shocked and saddened by the images coming from Japan this morning. The UN will mobilize humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction teams as soon as possible,” added Ban.

UN agencies said they are on standby to assist in Japan and any other countries that may also be hit by tsunamis in the wake of the quake, which was one of the strongest in recorded history.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that its officials are in contact with their Japanese counterparts to see how it can help with relief efforts.

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) was also alerted. INSARAG is a global network of 80 countries and disaster response organizations under the UN umbrella.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has staff on standby across the Asia-Pacific region so that they can respond to calls for assistance. The WFP informed that its depot in Malaysia has food stocks available.

“I sincerely hope that under the leadership of Prime Minister Kan Naoto, and the full support and solidarity of the international community, the Japanese people and Government will be able to overcome this difficult time as soon as possible,” concluded the Secretary-General.

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