Australian Rescue Teams Ready to Help in Aftermath of Japan's Disaster
    2011-03-15 13:34:45     Xinhua      Web Editor: Gong
 

Australian state premier on Tuesday said search and rescue teams, victim identification units and paramedics are on standby to help in the aftermath of Japan's disaster.

On Tuesday, the official death toll from the earthquake and tsunami, which has devastated much of Japan's northeast coast, has topped 2,400. Deaths in the Miyagi prefecture alone are expected to exceed 10,000.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu of Australia said he has met the Japanese consulate to determine the best way for the Australia's state to contribute to the aid effort.

He said the state government also looks to work with Victorian businesses that had relationships with Japanese investors.

"It's important to understand what the consequences will be for businesses, set up here with investors in Japan, and likewise those in return," he told Australia Associated Press in Victoria on Tuesday.

The premier said the state's financial aid in the wake of the disaster would be determined later.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has so far taken 7,600 calls from people concerned about loved ones in Japan.

An estimated 11,000 Australians are believed to be in Japan. Of the 306 Australians known to be in the worst-affected areas, 128 have been confirmed as safe, and at least 178 Australians are still unaccounted for in the disaster-affected regions of Japan.

By Monday night, no Australian casualties had been reported.

A 72-people search and rescue team from Australia arrived in Japan on Monday, and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the nation will provide Japan with any requested assistance, including victim identification teams and nuclear experts.

Rudd also confirmed a Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft left Australia to Japan on Tuesday to help move equipment and personnel around the country.

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