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THW team ends rescue operation in Japan

The Local · 15 Mar 2011, 07:53

Published: 15 Mar 2011 07:53 GMT+01:00

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"Our mission to look for survivors and rescue them has come to an end," THW team leader Ulf Langemeier said on Tuesday.

He said that 100 hours after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated large swath of Japan's northeast coast, the likelihood of finding people still alive under the rubble was extremely low.

Exactly when the team, which has been in the city of Tome, 50 kilometers north of Sendai, will return to Germany is not clear, although they are expected to leave their camp today and travel by bus to northern Japan, where they will board a plane for Germany. They have been in Tome since Monday.

A second, smaller team of THW workers will stay in Japan for the time being, helping with aid coordination, evacuations and technical questions.

The rescue workers left Germany for Japan on Saturday afternoon on a plane carrying 41 emergency workers, three search-and-rescue dogs and 12 tonnes of emergency relief supplies.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:57 March 15, 2011 by moistvelvet
So soon? Oh and I suppose the developments at the nuclear plant have nothing to do with their decision to leg it back to Europe. They went there to search and rescue, they've been there for one day and they give up despite there still being a chance of survivors, what was their real purpose in going to Japan, window dressing?
10:08 March 15, 2011 by PawD
Quite disgraceful I would say... even digging out dead bodies should be a part of their work!
10:37 March 15, 2011 by moistvelvet
True, isn't the greatest risk to life after an earthquake the disease spreading from the unburied dead. Why not just come out and call a spade a spade, say the truth that they are pulling their staff out on grounds of safety due to the potential radiation, that would be far more credible and understandable.

In a way you have to smile when 1,000s of reporters with their bloated entourage needlessly descend on a disaster zone like Northern Japan, getting in the way and standing side by side with other news teams to grasp the next best gruesome image of carnage and destruction LIVE, then when there is a risk of the dreaded "R" they are scurrying like rats to get off the island leaving the victims with no escape.
11:12 March 15, 2011 by catjones
Today's News:

AP - Rescuers have found a 70-year-old woman alive four days after the disaster struck.

Elsewhere, the German team was seen to be flying over the other survivors as they made their way home.
11:30 March 15, 2011 by moistvelvet
Giving up - must be a Lent thing, or perhaps they weren't getting the suntan they expected, either way they've got duty frees!!!
11:43 March 15, 2011 by tallady
13:57 March 15, 2011 by Alofat
Ah stupid people posting stupid comments, what else is new here
07:58 March 16, 2011 by wenddiver
A group of National Guardsmen in the US were so moved by the Japanese plight that they packed their gear and went to help, paying their own way, because they have no orders yet from the US Government. They said they had served in Hurricane Katrina, Iraq and Afganistan. I saw the video on FOX. Our Citizen Soldiers, America at her best, God Bless them. Some Sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan ( a Super Carrier) were exposed to radiation today, but the Navy did decontamination and the ship is still able to assist the Japanese. With Men and Women like this how can we fail and if the THW guys can't find something to do they should leave and get out of the way, because the Japanese Military, ours, the Police, Firemen and rest of the Rescue Workers are pretty busy.
09:53 March 17, 2011 by moistvelvet
@wenddiver, I agree if they are useless then they should remove themselves as a burden on the Japanese people.

This morning I watched a reporter standing in rubble saying how aid and relief workers were frustrated because they couldn't find fuel to get to remote parts of the disaster area, crematoriums were beginning to run short of fuel to dispose of the dead. I wonder how much of the scarce resources a reporter and his entrourage consume which could be better used elsewhere, they should fly back with the THW.
11:05 March 17, 2011 by tallady
Alofat..does the truth hurt????
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