The Government has approved €1 million in emergency funding for the Red Cross relief operation in Japan.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., said the decision followed an appeal yesterday by the Japanese Government for European Union assistance in responding to earthquake and tsunami.
“Japan is effectively dealing with three crises in one, with the earthquake, tsunami and the ongoing nuclear emergency,” the Tánaiste said.
“Japan’s disaster response capability has been stretched to the limit by the sheer scale of the emergency and they have appealed to the EU for help. The Japanese Red Cross has deployed 84 mobile medical teams with 735 staff members to the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami and the Japanese government has appealed to EU member states to support their operation. Under these circumstances the Government has agreed to provide €1 million, which will be targeted at providing relief for people left injured or homeless by the disaster.
I am also relieved that our Ambassador to Japan and his staff at the Embassy have now accounted for all of the Irish citizens known to be living or working in the affected areas in Japan. Our Embassy in Tokyo is continuing to provide assistance to citizens there and we are continuing to monitor the situation closely.”
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., said the Japanese Government had also asked the EU for blankets, mattresses and water tanks and Irish Aid had made available its stockpiles of these items in both Subang, Malaysia, and Dubai.
She said Irish Aid officials were liaising with their EU counterparts to assess how these supplies could be included in an EU airlift to the stricken areas.
“The impact of the disaster is being exacerbated by a combination of aftershocks, smaller-scale tsunamis and winter weather,” Minister O’Sullivan said.
“The Japanese Government has asked the EU not to send additional emergency or medical personnel, but to provide funding for the Red Cross and emergency supplies.
We are in ongoing contact with the EU and the United Nations to assess how Ireland’s emergency stockpiles might contribute to the relief operation.”
Notes to the editor
16 March 2011