SA rescue team heading to Japan

2011-03-14 09:27

Johannesburg - A South African rescue team will leave for Japan to help with relief efforts following a 9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the country's east coast, Rescue South Africa said on Monday.

Rescue SA put a team together of a maximum of 50 people who planned to fly out on Monday evening, said spokesperson Ian Scher.

He said the NGO had put together a team to go to the quake-hit north-eastern part of Japan where a tsunami struck the coast of Miyagi prefecture.


The team would consist of firefighter rescuers, medical personnel, press, and dog handlers and their dogs.

Scher said Rescue SA needed about R7m for the operation and at the moment "they were about half way there".

"This is largely funded by the private sector. People like Netcare have sponsored R1m, Discovery have sponsored R500 000, Econet Wireless have sponsored R1m, MTN R500 000, and Core Group have sponsored R250 000," he said.

"We are waiting for quite a few others."

ER24 and Medhold were sponsoring medication and warehouses.

Charter plane

Scher said the NGO was chartering a Boeing 747 to transport the team and the supplies.

The flight would take between 15 and 17 hours and they were not told where they would be landing.

Rescue SA falls under the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) who co-ordinate the rescue operation. Teams from different countries would report back on a daily basis on progress made.

"When we go on such a mission we go equipped... We have got to have our own camp, food, rescue equipment, medication and doctors - so you don't become a burden to the country you go and assist," Scher said.

- Rescue South Africa website

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  • dbngirl2011 - 2011-03-14 10:01

    The ANC wouldnt get a cut from it... so why would they step in

  • MactheKnife - 2011-03-14 10:04

    As usual, always the last ones to offer help.

      Susannomore - 2011-03-14 10:11

      They offered help on Friday. They were not allowed to go under their offer had been accepted. Britain also immediatly offered help and their offer was accepted yesterday.

      Christo, Mnr Visser - 2011-03-14 10:40

      to MactheKnife: If you don't know what your talking about, I would suggest that you keep your trap shut. These guys have been put on standby on Friday already, waiting for Japan to confirm that they can come over to help with the relief effort, which was only confirmed yesterday. Seeing as you know nothing about this, I would suggest that you reserve comments. The rescue team are going on own risk, most of these guys are volunteers who do this at their own risk. A mission like this is mentally draining and emotionally recking, so I would further suggest that if you do not have anything supportive to say, then don't say anything at all.

  • Tacitus - 2011-03-14 10:06

    Amazing, why does this not surprise me, this after Zuma told Japan on Friday that SA was ready to help. Why doesn't this pathetic government stand by what they say and fund this operation instead of using our tax money to buy cars for their fat wives.... Disgusting.

      goya - 2011-03-14 10:09

      Hear, hear!!!!!!

  • stofsuier - 2011-03-14 10:16

    why did you take my comment off ?

      zulufox - 2011-03-14 10:30

      because it was idiotic...

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-03-14 14:43

      It was rubbish

  • Ronel - 2011-03-14 10:25

    i absolutely love to read all the comments....for their fat wifes...very good

  • jdeeathome - 2011-03-14 10:45

    bon voyage, dont forget to pack your radiation protection gear

  • Charmaine - 2011-03-14 11:10

    On a positive note, I would like to say thank you to those volunteers. I used to be active in the ambulance fraternity. It is a difficult thing to do, mentally, and emotionally. You try and find, smelly bodies, especially children, and people hurt, and asking for you help, and not get emotional. You have to have a strong heart and a lot of professionalism. Thank you guys......

      Susannomore - 2011-03-14 11:32

      My thoughts echo this. Good luck guys. You have an important task which does not go unnoticed.

      Lucy - 2011-03-14 11:45

      Well done Charmaine - and thank you for past efforts. It is difficult emotionally and physically and I think the team we are sending over are amazing. A big thank you! And my heart goes out to all the people suffering this devastation in Japan.

  • Kim - 2011-03-14 11:49

    I think it's fantastic that we're sending over a team. It doesn't just take 5 minutes to pull this off. So well done to all the volunteers who are going. We should be proud!

  • lakhan7 - 2011-03-14 13:09

    ....just be sure you guys are back by the 19th march 2011. there could be more earthquakes in the region ...if I calculated property.

  • kaise - 2011-03-14 14:12

    our so called government dont wanna intervine in funding these people to assist Japan they use our tax money for themselves coz there is no one specifically to account to, its so sad

  • Quinny - 2011-03-14 14:51

    together we stand...way to go SA GO SAFE!

  • fairy child - 2011-03-15 13:03

    Good luck guys...our thoughts and prayers are with you!!!

  • elsabe.smith - 2011-03-15 22:02

    Absolutely fantastic and awesome. This is a deed of pure humanity... I salute you!!!!! I wish the SA team all the best, because really, as Christo Visser said, these men are going on own risk and have no idea what will be hitting them on the other side, as pictures don't describe the reality of the state that Japan is in. My prayers and thoughts are with you that you return home safely.. God bless...

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