Davao rescue team may no longer be deployed to Japan — USAR official

March 21, 2011 11:17 pm 

DAVAO CITY, March 21 – Members of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit of the Central Communications and Emergency Response Center Central 911 here might no longer be deployed to Japan, according to Retired Colonel Mario Verner Monsanto, chief operating officer of the emergency unit.

Monsanto said it is nearly two weeks since the earthquake and tsunami occurred in Japan on March 11, and yet even the national contingent of USAR in Manila which was set to leave last week has not received any request for deployment from the Japanese government.

“We believe that while we are prepared to respond anytime, we will not be deployed at all,” Monsanto said.

He said it has been more than one week and many emergency response contingents from other countries have already arrived in Japan. A team has been on standby waiting for the advisory for deployment from the Japanese government, taking the cue from the offer of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to Japanese consul Yoshiyuki Isoda.

Monsanto banked on the capability of his team to handle urban search and rescue, given its training on handling collapsed structures.

Duterte offered sending a team of rescuers to help in the rescue and retrieval operations in the earthquake and tsunami stricken areas in Japan, if needed. He issued this statement after handing his letter of sympathy addressed to Prime Minister Naoto Kan through Yoshiyuki Isoda, director and consul of Japan in Davao City, citing the city's solidarity with Japan in their time of need and bereavement.

The vice mayor said Davao City has the largest number of Japanese descendants in the country. Japan, he assured, will rise again from the tragedy with its strength, resiliency and disciplined citizenry.

Consul Isoda said the Japanese government is still assessing the situation to mitigate the impact of the disaster. He disclosed that more than 90 countries have already extended help to their country, but added that “we have to coordinate first with out government regarding the help that the Philippines can offer”. (PNA) LAP/Joey Sem G. Dalumpines/ldp

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