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U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos provided an update on the humanitarian disaster relief effort and the nuclear situation on March 16, 2011. At the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Ambassador Roos said, "I just want to start by reiterating that the United States obviously continues to have Japan and the consequences of this tragedy and the victims in our thoughts and prayers, and those who are in the, particularly in the devastated areas, we are thinking of them at this time.""...We are continuing to have obviously massive search-and-rescue and recovery operations as well as humanitarian support. We know it's as urgent as ever, and I'm very proud of the fact that the United States, our government and its people, are stepping up in countless ways for the Japanese people during this time of need. I also understand that there's a lot of conflicting information out there and we're committed to providing you as much up-to-date information as possible. As you know, it's an evolving situation in areas throughout Japan, but we'll try to get you as up-to-date information on an ongoing basis. I will take several questions today, and as in the past I'm joined by several members of my team here who we can rely on for some of the specifics. In addition, I think as you know, we have significant numbers of experts coming from the United States to help in the humanitarian disaster relief effort, the issues with regard to the nuclear situation, and we will be announcing many of those resources as they come.
"First, why don't I just spend a minute giving you a list of some of the new information today. First of all, with regard to the Fukushima nuclear plant, as you know there are two NRC engineers as well as a Department of Health and Human Services radiation emergency specialist, and Department of Energy radiation health hazards experts have been already on the ground since last Saturday. I was just told an additional seven experts from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have arrived in Japan today. In addition, U.S. aerial and ground radiation monitoring equipment and 34 personnel arrived in Japan last night. These personnel have expertise in health physics and airborne and ground-based radiation field monitoring. The equipment includes detectors, data acquisition systems, and health physics kits. In the military support area, we have delivered over 7,000 pounds of food and water to the disaster area and more is on the way. Nine ships are assisting in the relief operations, and helicopters and other aircraft have now flown over 50 missions to conduct survivor recoveries, transport passengers, and distribute food and water supplies in the most needy areas. With regard to some of the other assistance that's being provided by USAID, at this point in time more than 5.8 million dollars of United States aid has come to Japan so far and more is on the way. Urban search-and-rescue teams are working under the instruction of the Japanese and are coordinating with UK and Chinese teams to ensure a coordinated international response. So, this is just obviously a small piece of the incredible resources that the United States is providing to this human tragedy. Again, our thoughts are with the people of Japan in this incredibly difficult and tragic time, and we will continue to provide assistance in any way possible as Japan confronts its enormous challenges in the weeks and months and years ahead."
You can read the Ambassador's complete remarks here.
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