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U.S. Response to Japan

Rescue operations in Japan

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial."

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy," declared President Barack Obama in response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team that includes disaster response experts and nuclear experts.

In the first days after the earthquake and tsunami, USAID, urban search and rescue teams from Virginia's Fairfax County and California's Los Angeles County Fire Departments, including 144 personnel, twelve canines trained to detect live victims and 45 tons of equipment arrived in Japan to assist in the rescue efforts. The two U.S. search and rescue teams established a Base of Operations and were sent out to priority locations identified by the local Japanese authorities.

The teams completed all of the missions assigned to them by the Government of Japan and returned to the U.S.

USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team includes members with nuclear expertise from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These team members are in Japan and discussing with their counterparts ways the U.S. might be able to assist.

Also, in response to a request from the government of Japan, 10,000 sets of U.S. government-funded personal protective equipment, including suits, masks, gloves, decontamination bags, and other supplies, arrived in Tokyo on March 21st.

Immediately after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared that the United States is prepared to help Japan "in any way we possibly can." U.S. military personnel, along with its ships, airplanes and helicopters, have been transporting relief supplies, delivering aid, and providing clean-up help to Japan.

"This has been an unprecedented disaster," Secretary Hillary Clinton said. "[B]ut it has provoked an unprecedented show of resilience by the Japanese people and a pledge of cooperation and friendship from the American people. We will be with Japan and the people of Japan as you recover and rebuild, and we will stand with you in the months and years ahead."