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Seoul Sends Rescue Team to Quake Hit Japan
By Benedict Pather
S. African Correspondent

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on March 12 (Saturday), 2011 that the government has sent a special emergency team of rescuers to neighboring Japan following a destructive 8.9 magnitude earthquake.

The most powerful quake ever recorded in Japan triggered a tsunami, which shook buildings in Tokyo and sent waves crashing into villages on the countries northeastern coast.

The Ministry sent essential rescue equipment including two dogs to Tokyo at the request of the Japanese government. The emergency team flew to Sendai, the epicenter of the earthquake and area hardest hit by the disaster.

In addition 120 relieve workers, three military transport planes and experienced medical staff are on standby awaiting orders to depart to Japan. South Korea plans to do "everything it can" to aid the rescue operation in Japan, says ministry spokesperson Cho Byung Jae.

The quake death toll has climbed to 1000, over 10 000 people are still missing. Officials in Seoul and Tokyo said they were trying to check for possible South Korean casualties but telecommunication and infrastructure damage hamper relief efforts.

On Friday Korean President Lee Myung-bak sent a telegram to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledging full support and offering the governments immediate assistance.

“It is heartbreaking that the massive earthquake and tsunami caused loss of lives and property. I pay my deep condolence to the families of the victims on behalf the Korean people,” Lee said.

Meanwhile thousands of Japanese fled the vicinity of a crippled nuclear plant after an explosion lead to a radiation leak. Authorities face a new threat on Sunday following the failure of the cooling system in a second reactor.

Disaster management and rescue teams from around the world are rushing to Japan's aid. Emergency equipment and personnel arrived on Sunday from America, Australia and Singapore to help clear up the rubble and search for survivors.

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Mr. Benedict Pather is a South African Journalist and reporter for the Seoul Times. He mostly writes about events relating to Seoul's foreign communities. His hobbies include listening to music and travelling.






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