Vienna, 22 March 2011 Press release

Spindelegger: "Quick and non-bureaucratic relief for Japan"

Council of Ministers earmarks 1 million from the Disaster Relief Fund

Vienna, 22 March 2011 – Following today's meeting of the Council of Ministers, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger announced the disposal of 1 million Euros from the Disaster Relief Fund for the victims of the Japanese natural disasters. 

The worst earthquake in Japan's history has so far claimed more than 7,100 deaths, more than 10,000 people are still missing, and some 500,000 people have lost all their belongings and must now find refuge in emergency shelters. 1.4 million households have no water supply, and 3.2 million people have only intermittent access to electricity and gas. "In this difficult situation, Japan has turned to the European Union with a request for help, and, naturally, we wish to contribute our part. In view of the dramatic humanitarian situation for the survivors, concrete and non-bureaucratic assistance is needed quickly", said Foreign Minister Spindelegger. 

What is now most urgently needed in Japan are supplies to cover the people's daily needs, such as blankets, tents, camping cookers, or facilities for water treatment. Therefore, the relief supplies will be delivered directly to the Japanese Red Cross – through the Austrian Red Cross. "The Red Cross can judge best what the people most urgently need and how assistance can be provided as soon as possible", Spindelegger concluded. 

Moreover, the Foreign Minister visited the Japanese Embassy today to sign the condolences book as the representative of the Federal Government, accompanied by the Japanese Ambassador. 

For more information, contact:
Federal Ministry for European 
and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550, 3739
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213