JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

17:00, March 19, 2011

A large supply of drugs was brought into the first floor lobby of the JMA office over night. The supply consisted of several hundred million yen worth of drugs provided for free by the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA). The drugs went out today at 12:00 noon on three trucks headed to the US Yokota Air Base. They will be moved from Yokota Air Base to Sendai (Miyagi) and Hanamaki (Iwate) by transport aircraft.

In a parallel operation, transport about 800 kilograms of drugs procured by the Aichi Medical Association from Komaki Airport to Fukushima Airport by two Mitsubishi Heavy Industries jet aircraft was carried out today. The drugs offloaded at the airports will be distributed by each prefectural medical association.

JMA received a request dated March 18 from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare entitled, "About Acceptance of Patients from Fukushima Prefecture." This is a request to accept patients and evacuees from Fukushima on the understanding that: (1) they will have no effect on other patients or healthcare providers in the accepting facility; (2) levels of radiation that could affect the human body have not been confirmed in circumstances in which people take shelter indoors within the zone 20-30 km in radius from the nuclear power plant; and (3) presentation of a radiation decontamination certificate shall not be made a condition of acceptance.

As of 10:00 am today, 33 JMATs are in action and 28 JMATs are preparing to be dispatched. In addition, the Aomori Medical Association, which itself is in a disaster-affected area, has offered to dispatch JMATs to Iwate etc.

Triage Card
JMA will send "Evacuation Center Triage Cards" devised for use by JMATs to medical associations in afflicted prefectures and to medical associations planning to dispatch JMATs.

Local Information—Iwaki City, Fukushima
According to a report from a JMAT put into Iwaki city, Fukushima, the number of people in some evacuation centers has gone down as people have moved out, and the impression is that the situation in evacuation centers is starting to calm down. However, the anxiety remains amid a situation in which people do not know how long they will have to live in an evacuation center. In town, shops are open as usual, although inventories are small.

In Iwaki people are worried about irradiation. But, at present the level of radiation is at 1 microsievert per hour, and so even if one is there for 24 hours, that is 24 microsieverts. It is acceptable for X-ray technicians in hospitals to be exposed to 50 millisieverts per year (which converts to 137 microsieverts per day). In light of these figures, there is nothing to worry about under the current circumstances in Iwaki. The situation is not even close to one requiring the start of oral administration of potassium iodide (which would be when radiation levels reach 100 millisieverts).

Opinions Are Welcome
Recently JMA has received many opinions from members. For example, one suggestion, based on experience during the Great Hanshin Earthquake (1995), is to tape together cardboard from packing boxes to create partitions in evacuation centers. A height so that other people cannot see when sitting on the floor is just enough to create some privacy and improve the living environment a little.

This kind of suggestion that can be utilized immediately is beneficial in a situation where life as evacuees is prolonged. JMA is suggesting this idea be used right away in disaster-affected prefectures. If you have a practical opinion that could be used, please send it to the JMA Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters.

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