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Doctors, aid workers get to work in Japan

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Navigating a radiation cloud in Japan

(CNN) -- A massive emergency response operation is under way in northern Japan, with world governments and international aid groups coming together to bring relief to the beleaguered island nation.

So far, 91 countries and regions and 6 international organizations have extended offers of assistance, Japan's foreign affairs ministry said.

The Japanese government has received 11 urban search and rescue teams, including teams from the United States, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, China, Hungary, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Japan's own search and rescue team was in New Zealand, assisting with recovery from the recent Christchurch earthquake, when the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami struck on Friday.

Here is a sampling of some of the latest relief efforts under way:

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United States

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-- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said U.S. officials "stand ready to assist the Japanese ... in any way that we can."

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-- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is coordinating the overall American response. The United States is also sending experts from the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to offer technical assistance to the Japanese government.

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-- Eight U.S. Navy ships are now at work off the Japanese coast, with five more on the way in coming days and weeks, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said.

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-- Two search-and-rescue teams from the United States are working in the hard-hit coastal city of Ofunato, which was severely damaged in the quake.

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China

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-- Despite lingering tension between the two countries, China said Tuesday that it would "spare no efforts to provide assistance to ... the government of Japan."

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"We will continue to provide necessary aid to Japan as required by the Japanese side," Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.

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-- A 15-member Chinese rescue team was assisting with relief efforts in Ofunato. The gestures come just six months after the two countries sparred in a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

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International Groups

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-- The Red Cross has 85 medical teams operating out of hospitals and mobile clinics treating survivors. Each team includes a trained psychosocial nurse, who allows survivors to voice their grief and anxieties, as well discuss practical concerns. The Japanese Red Cross has 2,400 trained psychosocial nurses.

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-- The Red Cross estimates that more than 430,000 people are housed in some 2,500 evacuation centres, mostly in schools and other public buildings.

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Corporate and Individuals

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-- Individuals, companies and charities had donated nearly $23 million by Monday to aid in the earthquake and tsunami recovery effort, according to a report in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Still, the number is far below the first four-day totals of other recent natural disasters. More than $150 million was raised toward relief within four days of the crisis in Haiti, the same publication noted.

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-- Two American telecommunications companies are offering free phone calls to Japan over the next several weeks.

AT&T will not charge U.S. residential customers for calls made to Japan between March 11 and March 31. Texting is also free during the same period.

Time Warner Cable is extending a similar offer, making all direct calls to Japan free of charge between March 11 and April 15.

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-- The General Motors Foundation has approved a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross relief fund for Japan.

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-- Aflac made a 100 million yen (U.S. $1.2 million) donation to the International Red Cross to aid in disaster relief after the insurance giant fired Gilbert Gottfried, the comedian who provides the voice for the duck in the company's commericals. He was tweeting jokes about the disaster.

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-- Japan-based Honda Motor Company said it will donate 300 million yen (U.S. $3.7 million) toward relief and recovery. It is also providing 1,000 gas- and gasoline-powered generators. Honda in North American will match contributions from employees for the Red Cross, with no corporate limit.

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Celebrities

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-- The Black Eyed Peas have joined a growing list of artists and celebrities calling attention to the disaster in Japan.

The group shot their latest music video for the single "Just Can't Get Enough" in Tokyo a few days before the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami rocked the island nation.

The video opens: "This video was filmed in Japan one week before the earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people of Japan. We love you." The video closes with a link to the Red Cross.

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