Monday, March 14, 2011

International rescue effort gathers pace in Japan

Rescue workers from more than a dozen countries searched ravaged northeastern coastal cities on Monday for survivors of a massive earthquake and tsunami, as an international effort to help Japan cope with its multiple disasters gathered pace.

Some 70 countries have offered assistance in an outpouring of solidarity with Japan, with help coming not only from allies like the United States but also countries with more strained relations like China, and even from the Afghan city of Kandahar.

"We have offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed, as America will stand with Japan as they recover and rebuild," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

He said two U.S. urban search and rescue teams, with 144 staff and 12 dogs, had begun work at first light on Monday looking for people trapped in the rubble in buildings flattened by the tsunami that followed Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake.

A 15-member Chinese rescue team was also at work in the main quake zone after landing in Tokyo on a special chartered flight on Sunday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said.


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