JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

19:00, March 15, 2011

The Japan Medical Association Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters (the Headquarters) decided today to dispatch JMATs1 to disaster-stricken areas, and asked prefectural medical associations, as well as county and city medical associations, for their cooperation.

JMATs will take charge of medical assistance at first-aid stations and evacuation centers, responding to the situations, after the activities of DMAT2s, which are responsible for disaster medical assistance in the acute stage. At present, JMATs also assume a role of postmortem examinations.

JMATs will be dispatched to the four prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Each team will have a standard composition of 1 doctor, 2 nurses and 1 member of administrative staff (driver), and the preferable period of aid will be from 3 days to 1 week. The expenses will be borne by the JMA and the prefectural medical associations. As we intend to provide a response under the Disaster Relief Act, we require that activity records are kept without fail. The compensation to aid doctors for secondary disasters is also under investigation. We plan to open the door to participation from non-members.

The Headquarters would like to ask the prefectural medical associations to recruit doctors who can participate, and contact us promptly.

Food Shortage
As information is confused, it has not been possible to obtain a clear understanding of the situation in all of the affected areas even at the local level, and information may at times be conflicting. Furthermore, as infrastructure for daily necessities has been damaged and there are shortages of food and water, sufficient food and accommodation for aid doctors has not been secured.

For this reason, we have to ask doctors who are going to offer aid to be prepared for this and make their journey on the basis that they must be as self-sufficient as possible. Furthermore, we would be very grateful if it would be possible to provide the offices of Miyagi Medical Association and Sendai Medical Association with food as we had heard that there was no food and medical supplies.

Relief Teams
We were told that 3 people from Saitama Medical Association would be loading materials on to a 4-ton truck and leaving today, and we also asked them to take a large amount of food.

Led by its president, the Gifu Pref. Medical Association will be heading out to assist the Miyagi Medical Association in postmortem examinations tomorrow. They will be departing together with a Gifu Police aid team in a group of 3 doctors and 2 staff members. A second team is planned for March 19. We also asked Gifu Pref. Medical Association to provide supplies of food.

3 people from the Kanagawa Prefecture Medical Association will be heading to Iwate this evening to offer assistance in postmortem examinations.

The Shizuoka Medical Association is considering offering support in a team of 50-60 doctors and staff members to carry out diagnostic aid, including around 10 doctors who can perform postmortem examinations. However as the receiving side makes arrangements with the police, coordination is necessary.

Relief Fund
An appeal for donations from medical associations and member physicians has been held by JMA President Haranaka since March 14. This is an emergency appeal to offer support for relief activities in affected areas. We hope that as many people as possible will sympathize with this goal and offer their support.

1 JMAT:  Japan Medical Association Team is named after DMAT.
2 DMAT: Disaster Medical Assistance Team is defined as "mobile, trained medical team that can be rapidly deployed during the acute phase of a disaster (within 48 hours)", and consists of physicians, nurses, and coordination staff who have completed a special training course.

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