JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

21:30, March 18, 2011

As of 10:30 am on March 18, 21 JMATs are in action in the disaster-affected areas. In total, 25 JMATs are prepared to be dispatched; teams are separately being dispatched to Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki prefectures.

Every team is reporting a shortage of everyday goods, drugs, and medical supplies. The JMA is strongly demanding that the Japanese government ensure a logistics system for the disaster-affected areas. The situation in these areas is more severe than media reports, and the reconstruction of transportation systems, severed roads and distribution of fuels, is an urgent issue.

JMATs may be requested to transport some drugs with them when they are dispatched to the disaster-affected areas. There are enough drugs stored in warehouses around the country, but human resources and methodologies to transport them are lacking.

As such, the JMA is planning to transport drugs by helicopter in cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. We have also asked the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association to provide necessary drugs. We are preparing to send the drugs that have been donated by manufacturers to the affected areas by truck and jet airplane.

Postmortem Examinations
For postmortem examinations, many bodies have been identified by physicians, dentists, and police. Police headquarters in the affected areas can accept only a limited number of coroners. Although many applications have been made for postmortem examinations, the schedule is being arranged. Since such tasks will remain necessary for a long period, understanding of this situation and standby for requests are appreciated.

Patient Transfer
The JMA Disaster Headquarters will conduct a survey to search for available beds at hospitals and clinics regarding whether victim patients can be transferred to/from the affected areas.

Radiation exposure caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is a concern, and many patients are asking for prescriptions for potassium iodide tablets; this is caused by incorrect information. There are 300,000 tablets stored in Iwaki and other cities; however, there is no need to take them because this city is 30 km or more from the nuclear plant.

When the projected dose is over 100 mSv, potassium iodide tablets may be administered only once, to those under 40 years of age, in a preventive manner. Single dose is especially important for children because they should not stay for more than two days in such a contaminated area in the first place. The tablets shall be distributed according to the guidelines, as they come with some side effects. We should ensure that these tablets are not given in haste.

Checklist & Triage Card
As health check and management of people living in evacuation sites are required, the "Evacuation Center Checklist" and "Evacuation Center Triage Card" for follow-up and partnerships in rounds, will be distributed to each JMAT through medical associations in the disaster-affected areas sequentially after March 19.

Flight Service for JMAT
Free flight service is available for JMAT participants from any areas in Japan in cooperation with All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines Corporation (JAL). The related documents are posted on the member's area of the JMA website.

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