Belfast Telegraph

1m euro given to help quake victims

Taxpayers are providing one million euro in funding to help the Red Cross operation in earthquake-devastated Japan.

As attempts continue to tackle the nuclear crisis, relief workers were frantically working to help people left injured or homeless.

Eamon Gilmore, Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, said the Japanese government had appealed for help from EU countries.

"Japan is effectively dealing with three crises in one, with the earthquake, tsunami and the ongoing nuclear emergency," Mr Gilmore 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.

"Under these circumstances the Government has agreed to provide one million euro, which will be targeted at providing relief for people left injured or homeless by the disaster."

The Japanese Red Cross has deployed 84 mobile medical teams with 735 staff to the areas left devastated.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said none of the estimated 2,000 Irish citizens in Japan when the earthquake struck last Friday were injured, but officials are warning against non-essential travel there in the wake of the disaster and the crisis facing the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"An evacuation order is currently in place for 20km around the plant," a statement on the Department's website said. "Following the third explosion (at the plant) on March 15, the Japanese authorities announced that residents between 20-30 kilometres of the facility should remain indoors, keep windows and doors closed and not use ventilation. The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against all travel to this area."

More than 500,000 people have been made homeless and a massive aid effort is under way as aftershocks continue.

Diplomats have advised people in the north-east and Tokyo regions to question their need to remain, especially those with young children. They said those looking to leave should make a travel reservation as soon as possible. Narita Airport in Tokyo has reopened, though flights face disruption.

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