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Berlin pledges support to devastated Japan

The Local · 11 Mar 2011, 14:34

Published: 11 Mar 2011 10:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Mar 2011 14:34 GMT+01:00

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Chancellor Angela Merkel promised Berlin would do all it could to help in the aftermath of the catastrophe.

“Rest assured that Germany stands by Japan and is ready to help in these tragic hours,” she wrote in a telegram to Japanese President Naoto Kan, also expressing her sympathy for the relatives of victims and wishes of swift recovery for the injured.

In an address to Emperor Akihito, German President Christian Wulff wrote: “Germany stands at your side at this difficult time.”

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told broadcaster ZDF that Japanese leaders had not yet asked for help.

“If help is necessary, the Germans will naturally come to the aid of our partner Japan,” he said. “Such a massive earthquake is, of course, a blow.”

The 8.9 magnitude quake that hit Japan’s northeastern coast was reportedly the strongest the country has seen in 140 years. It was followed by a 10-metre tsunami that destroyed everything in its path.

At least 59 people were reported dead, Japanese broadcaster NHK said, with countless others missing. Meanwhile millions of homes were said to be without power, other buildings had collapsed, and many locations were ablaze, news agency Reuters reported.

An oil refinery near Tokyo was also burning, while authorities evacuated thousands near a nuclear plant north of the city over fears of a possible radioactive leak.

Story continues below…

Several strong aftershocks were also reported, as The Pacific Tsunami Warning centre issued an alert to countries as far away as Columbia and Peru, the agency said.

DPA/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

02:28 March 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
It breaks my heart to see this happen, least of all the Japanese people.

The more news I read, the worse it all seems to be. I have been in contact with friends and thankfully, everybody is fine. I will be planning a trip home, to my birthplace and home for many years, Japan, very soon.

on another note, we are also feeling Earthquakes off the Pacific Coast of Central America, tonight.
02:42 March 12, 2011 by ron1amr
Absolutely devastating. I saw live footage of the refinery burning. The nuclear power plant may be leaking having 1,000 times acceptable level which means a huge evacuation will be in place and reducing pressure from the reactor. There seems to be earthquakes every week globally. There must be an imbalance of the Earth. Is it a result of all oil drilling for sure this may be contributing. It is more likely the quantity of drilling with the rising population. In all my life except for the tsunami around Indonesia have I every heard of these events. But now it is something that we may expect to happen.
17:06 March 12, 2011 by Bruno53
My total sympathy to the people of Japan in this tragedy. But I am certain Japan shall recover fast!!
17:33 March 12, 2011 by wenddiver
@ron1amr- Just the shifting of the tetonic plates Ron. Nature showing how pitifully small mankind is. The original quake was the eqivalent of 700 nuclear weapons going off at the same time. Even mankinds mad quest for oil doesn't have the ability to displace so much of the planet, we are really just a blight on the surface.

I would say help is on the way as all the U.S, Air Force Reservists have disappeaared from work again and giant Air Force cargo planes and Air to Air Tankers kept me up landing and taking off last night. The news says the US is sending another Super Carrier to the region and each Carrier's Nuclear reactor can provide electricity for a city, each flight bay is convertible into a giant hospital. Our Military has 35,000 people in Okinawa ready to help once the Japanese authorities decide were they need them.
11:26 March 14, 2011 by moistvelvet
@ron1amr - Yeah it's all the drilling for oil and damn I feel guilty for digging the garden pond an extra foot deeper. Seems like more earthquakes are happening because more are easily reported with the global coverage we now have. Channels like Sky and Fox are obviously loving all this happened in a high tech camera infested country like Japan, with HD news feeds of disaster and carnage, after the initial reports I suspect there was a slight sigh of relief in those media centres that the quake wasn't in another 3rd world country where eyewitness footage was from a dodgy VHS camcorder. They love this!!

@wenddiver - a carrier producing enough electricity to supply a city isn't the same as actual providing a city with electricty, do you think they can just throw an extension lead over the side and hook up? Well good to see the US sending carriers and 1,000s of troops to help after the nuclear disaster has occurred in Japan, of all the countries in the world they are obviously the most experienced in this, hope you manage a good night sleep tonight :-o
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