The Irish Government has approved $.13 million in emergency funding for the Red Cross relief operation in Japan. Meanwhile the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland has upgraded the severity of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
The RPII have said that this incident is the second most serious nuclear incident in world history next to Chernobyl as one of the reactors went into meltdown. It seems the situation is worsening every day.
Yesterday surging radiation levels forced engineers to withdraw from their battle to cool the overheating reactors. The technicians were dousing the reactors with seawater but to no avail. Information on what is happening at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plants is scarce.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D. said the Ireland's decision to approve aid followed an appeal yesterday by the Japanese Government for European Union assistance in responding to earthquake and tsunami.
“Japan is effectively dealing with three crises in one, with the earthquake, tsunami and the ongoing nuclear emergency,” the Tánaiste said.
“Japan’s disaster response capability has been stretched to the limit by the sheer scale of the emergency and they have appealed to the EU for help. The Japanese Red Cross has deployed 84 mobile medical teams with 735 staff members to the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami and the Japanese government has appealed to EU member states to support their operation."
He continued "I am also relieved that our Ambassador to Japan and his staff at the Embassy have now accounted for all of the Irish citizens known to be living or working in the affected areas in Japan. Our Embassy in Tokyo is continuing to provide assistance to citizens there and we are continuing to monitor the situation closely.”
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., said “The impact of the disaster is being exacerbated by a combination of aftershocks, smaller-scale tsunamis and winter weather…The Japanese Government has asked the EU not to send additional emergency or medical personnel, but to provide funding for the Red Cross and emergency supplies."
The Japanese authorities have said that more than 452,000 people are now staying in temporary shelters. So far 3,700 people are officially listed as dead but the death toll is expected to climb over 10,000.
Emperor Akihito expressed condolences and urged Japan not to give up.
“It is important that each of us shares the difficult days that lie ahead…I pray that we will all take care of each other and overcome this tragedy…With the help of those involved I hope things will not get worse.”