NZ to send urban SAR team to JapanPrime Minister
Prime Minister John Key said today New Zealand is sending an Urban Search and Rescue team to Japan following yesterday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
“The sympathies of all New Zealanders go out to the Japanese people and Government, who are grappling with this major disaster,” says Mr Key.
“In response, New Zealand is sending a 48-strong Urban Search and Rescue team using a mix of Royal New Zealand Air Force and commercial flights, commencing tonight.”
Mr Key said he was advised that all of the team will have left New Zealand by around 6am tomorrow morning.
“In sending this team, which is a component of the New Zealand Fire Service, my advice is that we will not be leaving New Zealand vulnerable in terms of the ability to respond to emergencies here.
“This morning I spoke to our ambassador in Japan, Ian Kennedy, who informed me there are no New Zealanders known to be killed or injured at this stage.
“However, it needs to be noted that there may be a large number of New Zealanders living in Japan who are not registered with our embassy. Embassy officials and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to monitor the situation.
“Japan responded to the tragic Christchurch earthquake last month with enormous support, including urban search and rescue personnel.
“We are happy to provide whatever assistance we can, as Japan faces its own disaster,” says Mr Key.