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Relief Work
Special> Earthquake in Japan> Relief Work
UPDATED: March 18, 2011
Ban Reaffirms UN Readiness to Offer Additional Help

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday reaffirmed the UN readiness to "provide any additional assistance" to disaster-stricken Japan if requested, a UN readout said here.

The secretary-general, who is on his official visit to Guatemala, made the statement as he was speaking on the phone with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA), Yukiya Amano.

"The secretary-general reaffirmed the United Nations'readiness to provide any additional assistance if requested," the readout said.

During the phone conversation, the secretary-general received a detailed briefing on the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plants and the ongoing efforts by the Japanese authorities, the readout said.

Japan was hit by devastating earthquake and the subsequent tsunami on March 11, which left thousands dead and severe damage.

"The secretary-general reiterated his serious concern about the situation and expressed appreciation for the IAEA's assistance to help the Japanese authorities control the situation," said the readout.

Japan on Tuesday asked the IAEA for assistance in monitoring the environment and assessing the impact of radiation on human health. It also asked that IAEA experts be sent to Japan to join efforts with local experts.

Amano departed for Tokyo on Thursday to assess the worsening nuclear crisis in Fukushima, where he said he hoped to see the situation for himself and gather detailed information from Japanese authorities to learn how best the IAEA can help.

Earlier on Thursday, Amano said that the situation at the tsunami-scarred Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is "very serious," adding that "it is not yet time to say that things are out of control."

(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2011)

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