Japan to send expert medical team to Haiti

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Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Friday an emergency medical team will be sent to join a host of rescue teams, comprised of doctors, soldiers and humanitarian organizations from around the globe, to help rescue efforts in Haiti, which was hit by the devastating earthquake on Tuesday.

Okada said the team, scheduled to embark from Narita on Saturday, will consist of around 20 members, including personnel from the Foreign Ministry. The team is initially scheduled to fly into Miami before arriving in Haiti on Sunday.

It will join relief teams from the United States, China, France, Spain and Iceland who have already arrived in Haiti's capital Port- au-Prince, the most densely populated area with around 2 million inhabitants and closest to the epicenter of Tuesday's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, to save trapped people, recover bodies and provide relief supplies to the affected people of Haiti.

Haiti's main airport, which is still functioning, has been secured by U.S. military personnel and is primed to receive more aid being airlifted from all over the world.

The earthquake, the most powerful in Haiti's history, has devastated its already impoverished infrastructure, with hospitals, electricity and water supplies being severely compromised, as well as the country's police and security forces.

Japan has assisted a number of countries over the years hit by major earthquakes and has a dedicated fast-response unit to assist with a range of medical, salvage and humanitarian support needs.

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