Japan asks for limited number of rescue teams: U.N.

GENEVA Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:20pm EST

GENEVA (Reuters) - Japan has requested a limited number of foreign search and rescue teams to help following its major earthquake, the United Nations said on Friday.

"Japan has requested international search and rescue teams, but only a handful," Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters in Geneva.

Earlier, the world body said that some 68 search and rescue teams from 45 countries were on standby, awaiting a request from Tokyo, after a devastating tsunami triggered by the biggest earthquake on record in Japan looked as if it had killed at least 1,000 people along its eastern coast.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, editing by Tim Pearce)

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