Vietnam offers aid to Japan, evacuates citizens

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed the Vietnam Red Cross Society to raise donations for remediation efforts following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The donation drive began on Tuesday (March 15) and lasts for one month, according to a statement posted on the government's website, on the same day.

"Vietnam extends its deepest condolences to Japanese people over the serious losses caused by the powerful earthquake on Friday (March 11)." Nguyen Phuong Nga, a spokeswoman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a prepared statement on Monday.

"We believe that with its strong will and determination, Japan will soon overcome difficulties, the consequences of the aftermath and continue developing."

Nga said that Vietnam stands ready to provide aid and assistance to Japan within its capacity. On Sunday, the Vietnamese government decided to offer an urgent aid package of US$200,000 to the Japanese people. Nga said they have offered to dispatch medical teams to Japan if they are needed.

"Vietnam is consulting with the Japanese, so that we can offer them what they really need," Nga stressed.

On March 14, the Vietnam Red Cross Society decided to donate $50,000 to the Japanese people through its Japan partner.

Following the Prime Minister's instructions, the Vietnam Red Cross Society is receiving donation for Japanese people suffering from earthquake and tsunami at its offices

and bank accounts. Detailed contacts for donation are available on its website, www.chuthapdo.org.vn.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dung also instructed the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan to coordinate an evacuation of its citizens from affected areas in Japan. The Embassy has also been ordered to facilitate the return of Vietnamese citizens wishing to return home.

Dung instructed the Ministry of Health to prepare to monitor the radiation levels of Vietnamese returning from Japan, as well as coordinate with related agencies in Vietnam to deal with the issue if radiation from Japan affects Vietnam.

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