Foreign rescuers join Japanese relief mission

Russia has sent 54 rescue workers and 25 nuclear specialists to help Japan deal with the worst natural disaster the country has faced in decades. Additional crews of rescuers are to be dispatched soon.

The first team from the Russian Emergencies Ministry traveled from Tokyo to Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered greatly from the devastating tsunami. They have set up a base camp and started searching the area for survivors, who may have been trapped under the debris.

They work in cooperation with South Korean specialists and expect French colleagues and more Russians to join them soon, head of the rescue team Andrey Legoshin told the media.

A group of nuclear experts from the Russian Rosatom agency has arrived at the Fukushima nuclear plant. They will advise the Japanese on their tackling of the deteriorating nuclear reactors at the plant, which face meltdown after cooling system failure.

More rescuers from Russia are expected to arrive in Japan on Tuesday. Emergencies Ministry officials say a total of five mobile rescue groups totaling about 200 will be working there. They will have enough equipment and supplies to be able to continue their mission autonomously for at least two weeks.

As well as the Russians, there are 144 rescuers and 12 tracker dogs from the US, 107 people from South Korea and 28 rescuers from Taiwan, working on the relief effort in Japan. Several other nations have pledged to send their specialists over the next few days.

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