Russia on stand-by for Japanese help request

Moscow says it is prepared to help Tokyo, with Russia having vast experience in dealing with both natural and nuclear disasters. Russia is closely monitoring the radiation on its territory closest to Japan.

­“We need to continue monitoring the situation in the Russian Far East as closely as possible. I have just spoken to the local authorities in the region. The situation there is normal, both from the point of view of people’s housing and radioactivity. Nevertheless, the situation must be closely monitored on a round-the-clock basis,” said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Saturday. 

The Emergencies Ministry has prepared the necessary forces, including six planes, an airborne hospital. 200 rescuers, psychologists and doctors are ready to fly to Japan, the ministry said.

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is ready to increase liquefied natural gas supplies to Japan.

Russia, among 45 nations, is ready to provide humanitarian aid to devastated region.

So far Japan has accepted humanitarian aid from six countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

On a request from Tokyo, a search-and-rescue team of 72 members and rescue dogs from the US is expected to land in Japan.

The United Nations sent nine experts to Japan on Saturday. UN officials noted that two of the experts were specialists in environmental issues, as reports about the greatly-increased level of radiation due to an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant emerged.

The experts are part of the UN Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination system, a rapid response network set up to aid in the worst cases.

Switzerland, with strong links to Japan, said it was asked by Tokyo to send search-and-rescue teams, and 25 Swiss specialists and nine trained dogs have been sent to the country to help.

Red Cross and UN officials have stressed they have regional hubs in Asia from which aid can be deployed quickly.

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