Dozens of Countries Pledge Help to Earthquake-Stricken Japan

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The USS Blue Ridge is expected to participate in earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan (REUTERS / US Navy / Mass Communication Specialist)

Less than a month ago, Japanese rescue teams were deployed to quake-ravaged Christchurch, New Zealand.  Today, New Zealand — and many others — will return the favor.

The 8.9 earthquake that struck Japan last Friday and the tsunami that followed have left thousands dead an injured. The twin disasters, which set off tsunami alerts around the world and caused damage as far as the United States, have devastated part’s of the country’s northeast.  That emergency is now compounded by risk of a nuclear crisis north of Tokyo.

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of the devastation left by the earthquake.)

But Japan, which has consistently aided others in the past, is not alone — offers of help are pouring in from around the globe.

Japan has accepted offers of assistance from a host of countries, including: Germany, Britain, Mexico and New Zealand.  Australia, Singapore and South Korea promised to send search and rescue teams.

(More on TIME.com: See how Japan is trying to avoid a nuclear disaster.)

The United States will also join in the effort by sending in a 144-member rescue team. As part of the team, the US has sent 12 dogs, along with rescue equipment. Because Japan is also a strategic base for the States, the US military will be providing humanitarian and medical aid through “Operation ‘Tomodachi.’ Tomodachi means ‘friendship’ in Japanese.

“Japan is one of the most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need, the world over,” said UN chief said UN chief Ban Ki Moon. “In that spirit the United Nations stands by the people of Japan, and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time.”

(More on TIME.com: See how Japan prepares for natural disasters.)

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