21 Mar 2011

$1m donated to Red Cross effort in Japan

6:58 pm on 21 March 2011

The New Zealand Government is giving $1 million to support the Red Cross relief effort in Japan.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake on 11 March triggered a tsunami that devastated Japan's northeastern coast and hit a power plant, triggering a nuclear emergency.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the money will enable the Red Cross to provide aid promptly to parts of the country that need help the most.

Mr McCully says Japan and New Zealand are close partners and it is natural that the countries support each other in times of great adversity.

Japan sent assistance after a devastating quake hit Christchurch on 22 February.

Mr McCully says the Government expresses its gratitude to the 50 urban search and rescue workers who returned home at the weekend after assisting in Japan.

He also acknowledged the efforts of consular staff who worked around the clock to ascertain the safety and whereabouts of about 2200 New Zealanders in Japan.