JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

19:30, April 4, 2011

Official Name of the Earthquake
On the afternoon of April 1 it was decided at a Cabinet meeting to call the recent earthquake the Higashi Nihon Daishinsai (Great Eastern Japan Earthquake). This name will be used when establishing an Act on Special Measures concerning Earthquakes and a fund in the future.

Fukushima Disaster Medical Support Network
On April 3 the Fukushima Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters announced the establishment of a Fukushima Disaster Medical Support Network composed of relevant organizations. The network is being established to flexibly and rapidly respond to secondary evacuations in the future and changes in the environment in order to ensure medical care in evacuation centers. The types of medical support considered are:
(1) traveling teams making rounds (to evacuation centers, etc.);
(2) permanently stationed teams at evacuation centers (providing medical care on a full-time basis at large evacuation centers); and
(3) logistical support (providing medical care to survivors at core hospitals and other medical institutions near evacuation centers).
Doctors who can provide support will be solicited through the JMA and other channels.

Food Sanitation Committee
On April 4 the Food Sanitation Committee in the MHLW's Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council held a meeting and discussed regulations for radioactive substances in food stemming from the nuclear power plant accident. The committee is expected to come out with the view that the Guidelines concerning Restriction of Food and Beverage Intake offered by the Nuclear Safety Commission as an emergency measure on March 17 should be confirmed as the food regulations for the time being.

Opinions given during the meeting included the need to establish future monitoring and the need to provide the public with explanations that are easy to understand. For example, the guideline for limiting intake of radioactive iodine is 300 Bq/kg for drinking water, milk, and dairy products with the caveat that milk and dairy products exceeding 100 Bq/kg should not be used for infant formula or direct consumption by infants. For radioactive cesium, the guideline is 200 Bq/kg for drinking water, milk, and dairy products. Newspapers and other media have been using sieverts (Sv) per hour regarding contamination in the air and that changing the unit to becquerels (Bq) per kilogram is confusing for the public. These opinions are expected to be incorporated into the conclusion.

The JMA has started adjusting JMAT operations for April forward, based on the collection of intentions from the three prefectures in the Tohoku region (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima) where the damage was tremendous. These adjustments will be reflected in future plans for the dispatch of JMATs from other prefectures. As of April 4, 319 teams are in action (including those whose dispatch has been settled) and 189 are preparing to be dispatched.

Newborns and Infants
There are several nutritional problems for newborns and infants during a disaster, including for those living at home as well as those living in an evacuation center. Pregnant women and mothers have been asking a variety of questions. The following websites should be referenced as sources of correct information (in Japanese).

Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Japan Pediatric Society
National Perinatal Care (MFICU) Liaison Council

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