HONG KONG (AFP) - World powers rallied around China with pledges of help to cope with its earthquake disaster as the death toll approached 12,000 on Tuesday amid rescue efforts. "The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the Chinese people, especially those directly affected. The United States stands ready to help in any way possible," President George W. Bush said in a statement. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Monday near Chengdu, capital of the southwestern Sichuan province, flattening schools, factories and leaving nearly 12,000 dead, according to an official count. But that figure was expected to rise dramatically with at least 10,000 people buried under rubble in Sichuan's Mianzhu city alone. "I extend my condolences to those injured and to the families of the victims of (Monday's) earthquake in China's Sichuan province. I am particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by this tragedy," said Bush. Asian neighbours also pledged help. Japan offered 4.8 million dollars of relief supplies such as blankets, tents and cash aid, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said. "We want to provide whatever we can as our neighbour has suffered huge damage," Komura told reporters. Rival Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, said it would take part in rescue efforts. "We expressed our condolences and we are willing to assist in rescue missions and provide necessary humanitarian aid," Prime Minister Chang Chun-hsiung said. The quake struck less than 90 days from the opening of the Beijing Olympics and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge also assured China's government of his support. "We send our deepest felt condolences for the victims. The Olympic Movement is at your side, especially during these difficult months. Our thoughts are with you," IOC president Jacques Rogge said in a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Organisers said the quake would not affect preparations for the games, and the Olympic torch relay continued its odyssey around China on Tuesday, embarking on its 12th domestic leg, though some Chinese netizens have slammed organisers as "inhuman". South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak told his cabinet to seek ways to help, while Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered assistance with search and rescue efforts. "I am deeply shocked and grieved at the loss of precious lives of our Chinese brethren and damage to property," Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in a message to his China's president. French President Nicolas Sarkozy also offered support. "I would like to let you know that I am deeply moved and would like to assure you of France's support for the Chinese people in this difficult moment," Sarkozy said in a letter to Hu. But as offers of help flowed in, China said Tuesday conditions were "not yet ripe" to allow foreign rescue teams into the country to help, citing damage to transport links by the earthquake. The European Union expressed sympathy at the massive loss of life. "We share the grief of all those who have lost loved ones and express our heartfelt sympathies to those who have been injured and suffered heavy material losses in this catastrophe," EU head Slovenia said in a statement. Russia's new President Dmitry Medvedev offered help in a telegram to Hu. "I ask you to pass condolences to the friends and family of the perished and wishes for a speedy recovery to all those who suffered," he said. "We are ready to help relieve the consequences of this emergency if needed." German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered condolences, Canada said it was ready to send help, and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said he was saddened by the disaster. King Abdullah II of Jordan offered to send medical teams to China.