International Rescue rebuff

The problems experienced by International Rescue Corp as they attempted to provide help in Japan have been raised in the Scottish Parliament by Cathy Peattie MSP, in whose Falkirk East constituency the IRC are based.

Cathy Peattie said:

“Given the scale of the tragedy that is unfolding as a result of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leaks, I know that the team will be bitterly disappointed. Despite trekking to Japan, they were unable to enter the disaster zone because of UK red tape. The Japanese authorities in Tokyo and London were happy to accept International Rescue’s offer of help, but the UK embassy in Japan did not supply the necessary credentials. That is ridiculous – the organisation has assisted in over thirty disasters abroad, and others within the UK.

“I am asking my colleagues to support my call for the work of International Rescue to be recognised and supported by the UK government, so that this does not happen again.”

Cathy has tabled a motion calling on the UK Government to recognise and facilitate IRC’s valuable work

Ends

Motion – That the Parliament expresses its sympathy with the people of Japan, who have been affected by earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leaks; regrets that the team from the Grangemouth-based International Rescue Corps (IRC), despite having permission from Japanese authorities in Tokyo and London, were unable to assist with the humanitarian effort; understands that this was because of the lack of a letter of authorisation, stating that IRC is a bona fide organisation, from UK officials based in Japan; notes that this would have been the 32nd world disaster attended by IRC and that, although it has had problems previously with host governments in China and Afghanistan, this was the first time that the obstacle was with a UK embassy; considers the efforts of IRC to be unstinting and that these should be recognised by the UK Government, and that every effort should be made to facilitate IRC’s valuable work.

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