The President’s Office has said that it will provide Japan with 1,800 cases of Maldivian tuna – amounting to 86,400 individual cans – as ”emergency disaster supplies” for victims of an earthquake and tsunami that has ravaged the country and its infrastructure.
Japan was devastated Friday by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale and an ensuing tsunami thought to have killed thousands in the Northeastern Miyagi Prefecture alone. However, in the aftermath of the disaster, local news reports have said that the country is also facing a potential meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima following an explosion at the site, which has since been linked to the earthquake.
The BBC today reported today that Japanese premier Naoto Kan has claimed that the combined natural and nuclear disasters were the “greatest hardships” faced by the country since World War 2, as an explosion was confirmed to have taken place at a reactor at the Fukushima plant.
Amidst the recent hardships that have befallen the country, the office of President Mohamed Nasheed has claimed it will hope to return some of the support it says has been previously received from Japan.
“The Maldives has offered Japan in-kind assistance of 1,800 cases of canned Maldivian tuna to help feed a town affected by the disaster,” the President’s Office said in a statement. “Japan is a stalwart ally of the Maldives and our largest bilateral donor. Our relationship goes back many years with Japan supporting us in many sectors such as education and infrastructure.”
Acting Foreign Minister Aslam Shakir said in a statement that it was right and proper for the Maldives to provide assistance to the people of Japan.
“Japan also helped us when the devastating 2004 tsunami hit the Maldives and so the [country] will stand by Japan during their time of need,” Shakir was quoted as saying.
According to the President’s Office, the tuna shipments are expected to be sent to Japan shortly, where official disaster response teams will receive the supplies.
“The President’s Office noted that the 1800 cases of tuna – worth 1.2 Million Maldivian Ruffiya (US$93,700) – was sent in an attempt to help citizens of the country displaced in the disaster.
”The Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami has claimed hundreds of lives, while over 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes,” it added in a statement.
As the disaster struck on 11 March, President Mohamed Nasheed was also confirmed to have sent a message to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
”It was with deep shock and sadness that I learned about the powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit parts of Northern Japan causing loss of lives and injury to hundreds of people, as well as extensive destruction to property and infrastructure,” Nasheed said in his message. “The Government and people of the Maldives join me in conveying our deepest sympathy to you, the Government and the people of Japan, and in particular, to those who were directly affected by this tragedy.”