Government approves €1 million for Red Cross operation in Japan16 March 2011
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
- Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Irish Aid pre-positions essential humanitarian relief items in a series of depots located close to those regions which are most susceptible to natural or other disasters. The pre-positioning of such stocks forms part of the Rapid Response Initiative established in the aftermath of the 2004 Asia Tsunami. The United Nations Humanitarian Relief Depots (UNHRD), which are highly specialised, are administered by the World Food Programme and are located in Brindisi, Italy; Accra, Ghana; Subang, Malaysia; Panama and Dubai.
- The network was used by Irish Aid to organise airlifts and shipments of essential shelter, water and sanitation supplies to emergencies such as those which affected Haiti and Pakistan during 2010.
- For further information, visit www.dfa.ie or www.irishaid.ie . Contact the Press Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-4082275/ 2550.