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Russia sends first batch of humanitarian aid to Japan

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A Russian emergencies ministry's plane carrying the first load of humanitarian aid to quake-stricken Japan took off from an airfield near Moscow late on Tuesday.

A Russian emergencies ministry's plane carrying the first load of humanitarian aid to quake-stricken Japan took off from an airfield near Moscow late on Tuesday.

"An Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane with 17 metric tons of humanitarian cargo took off at 23.50 Moscow time [20:50 GMT] from an airfield in Ramenskoye," the ministry said.

Russia is sending a total of 10,000 blankets and 10,000 mattresses requested by the Japanese side following a series of natural disasters that struck Japan last week.

Large parts of eastern Japan were left devastated after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast on Friday, sparking a powerful tsunami. It was followed by aftershocks that have since caused blasts at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the country's east, raising fears of a nuclear meltdown.

Over 10,000 people are reported dead or missing in Japan following the disasters. A death toll of over 3,000 has so far been confirmed.

A group of 80 Russian rescuers are already working in the city of Sendai.

 

MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti)

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