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More than 45 nations ready to help quake-hit Japan: UN

The United Nations said on Friday that search and rescue teams from more than 45 countries were ready to head to quake and tsunami-hit Japan if the Asian state needed help.

“More than 68 teams from more than 45 countries are on standby,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told AFP.

The search and rescue teams mobilised under a UN disaster response network are monitoring the situation and ready to help should Japan request aid, she explained.

“The UN stands ready to help,” said Ms. Byrs.

She told journalists that OCHA experts were in constant contact with their counterparts at Japan’s disaster relief authority.

Expressing its “deep sympathy and solicitude” to the Japanese people, China offered any “necessary assistance.”

Chinese Primer Wen Jiabao, in a message to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, from Beijing said, “China is willing to offer necessary assistance to Tokyo.”

Earlier, Chen Jianmin, head of the China Earthquake Administration, said Chinese earthquake rescuers are prepared to go to Japan to join earthquake relief work if needed.

China’s International Rescue Team has put its members, equipment, materials and medicines in place and are ready to depart for Japan at any time, Chen told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The earthquake that rocked Japan was felt as far away as Beijing. China braced to face the ripple effect of the massive tsunami that hit the Japanese coast. Waves measuring up to one metre or less were expected to hit parts of the southern coast including the coast of Guangdong city.

But the Chinese Met officials said it was not expected to have any big impact as it was expected to be weakened by the time it reached the Chinese coast.

Meanwhile, China has stepped relief work by evacuating more than 127,100 people to nearby shelters at Yingjiang County in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Thursday claimed 25 lives.

Over 80 per cent of the homes in Lameng village, the epicentre, collapsed in the quake. However, no serious casualties were reported in the village, Zhao Yunshan, director with the county government’s press office said.

OBAMA CALLS NAOTO

Meanwhile U.S. President Barack Obama called Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to offer help.

Mr. Obama earlier delayed a scheduled press conference by 75 minutes so that he could get a briefing on the disaster, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

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