JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

22:00, March 17, 2011

As of 9:00, March 17, 11 JMATs have started activities, and 13 doctors, 7 nurses, and 11 administrative staff members are participating. In addition, 8 teams are currently preparing for participation. Participants are requested to submit a JMAT application form to the prefectural medical association.

Relief Supplies
As the JMA mentioned the distribution of goods in the disaster-stricken areas in the press conference, we firmly requested that the government improve the condition of the roads, the distribution of gasoline, and the transportation of medical supplies. We are making our request with an emphasis not only on aid in medical assistance but also food and everyday goods.

We have requested the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association to donate medicine. We are preparing transport by trucks and helicopters to deliver medical supplies donated from manufacturers to the affected areas.

Low-interest Loan
Amid a succession of medical institutions that have received heavy damage from the disaster, we have submitted a written request to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to establish policies such as low-interest loans to fund repairs. We have firmly requested this as there is a need to protect community medical care in the affected areas even further although as for long term working capital, the "Outline of Funding for Disaster Recovery (Medical Loans)" was issued by the Welfare and Medical Service Agency on March 15.

The situation concerning the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become even more serious. The US has expressed the opinion that the area within 80km of the site should be off limits, and this point was debated at the JMA Disaster Headquarters. Many Japanese specialists at this point hold the view that there are no concerns for activities outside the 30km area around the site. We will continue with further research, and produce medical and scientific, rather than political opinions in the future.

Shortage of Food, Gasoline and Electricity
It has been reported from the affected prefectures that there is a serious depletion of food supplies, and the provision of food in some hospitals has also become serious. JMATs are not only asked to be self-sufficient, but also as far as possible to take goods to the locations to which they are dispatched. Although there are difficulties in obtaining gasoline in Iwate and Miyagi, supplies for emergency vehicles are ensured on the expressways.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area scheduled blackouts are being implemented and citizens' transport continues to be disrupted, particularly through trains running at a reduced operation of 60-70%. Furthermore, the supply of gasoline is also limited in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, and motorists have to wait in line at gas stations from early morning in order to obtain gasoline.

Checklist & Triage Card
At evacuation centers, there are many patients with a variety of chronic diseases, for whom treatment has unavoidably been stopped due to the disaster. We are requesting that the "Evacuation Center Checklist" and "Evacuation Center Triage Guide" are utilized in order to ensure that patients are able to receive suitable treatment even in such a difficult environment.

The Role of JMAT—Protecting Lives That Must Be Saved
Victims of the present earthquake/tsunami can be divided into 4 groups.
1) People who lost their lives immediately after the occurrence of earthquake/tsunami.
2) People who were just able to escape the earthquake/tsunami and are awaiting rescue teams.
3) People who have evacuated to evacuation centers and are awaiting aid.
4) People who are awaiting aid in their homes.
Images of the earthquake and tsunami are repeatedly broadcast, and a situation of crisis continues to emerge at the nuclear power plant. These undeniably represent a threat. However, we must not forget that the people who are most in need of medical assistance at this time are the 400,000 and several more thousands of people awaiting aid at evacuation centers or in their homes in the disaster-stricken areas. The JMA does not come under the categories of acute stage or chronic stage medical assistance, and aims to provide everyone in the affected areas with medical assistance that is based on the principle of protecting lives that must be saved.

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