JMA Disaster Headquarters Status Reports

19:00, April 21, 2011

On-site Inspections by JMA Officers
More than a month has past since the March 11 earthquake, and the afflicted prefectures have started to move slowly in the direction of recovery. Nevertheless, some 130,000 people are still living in evacuation shelters. In this context, the JMA's executive officers, each with a different mission, visited the disaster affected prefectures.

President Katsuyuki Haranaka visited the Miyagi and Iwate medical associations on April 20-21. He held informal talks with the presidents of those associations, joined officers' meetings and meetings of the prefectural disaster countermeasures headquarters, and encouraged the associations' members.

Vice-president Takashi Hanyuda inspected Iwate Prefecture on April 14-15 in order to make the final check on the optimal location to set up a large prefab temporary clinic donated through the Medical Logistics Association. He flew north along the coast in a helicopter from Rikuzentakata to Miyako. After the inspection it was decided to set up the clinic in Otsuchi, where there was tremendous damage. The temporary clinic is a large prefab structure with three examination rooms that can accommodate up to 15 beds. It can be used continuously for 10-15 years. The plan regarding medical equipment is to install Japanese-made equipment. After the setup is complete, three doctors and the staff from the damaged Prefectural Otsuchi Hospital and five doctors whose clinics were damaged will cooperate in seeing patients.

On April 15, Vice-president Toshio Nakagawa and Executive Board Member Kunihiko Suzuki inspected Minamisanriku, where all the town's clinics were completely destroyed. They held informal talks with the director of the Shizugawa Public Hospital and the town's mayor. The Shizugawa Hospital is unusable, and so at present doctors are using a large prefab clinic left behind by the Israeli military as a temporary clinic and also making rounds to evacuation shelters.

On April 13-16, Executive Board Member Yukitoshi Hanashi visited the prefectural medical associations in Ibaraki, Tochigi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate, and Aomori. He observed the disaster countermeasures taken in each prefecture.

On April 15-17, Executive Board Member Satoshi Imamura inspected Kesennuma and Minamisanriku in Miyagi. This city and town are considering what kind of practical support, including public finance support, will be effective in rebuilding the medical institutions that damaged immensely.

On April 15-17, Executive Board Member Hiromi Ishikawa traveled south along the coast from Miyako to Soma and Iitate. He visited nine locations and inquired about the current situation with people living in evacuation shelters and doctors performing medical activities. He gathered materials for planning how JMAT support should be in the future.

The on-site inspections by officers allowed the JMA to actually verify the enormity of the disaster and to check with affected persons about cooperative relationships and support systems for reconstruction. Enough materials were obtained to reflect back on the measures the JMA had worked on thus far and to consider measures for the future.

As of April 21, 642 JMATs are in action (including those whose dispatch has been settled) and 145 JMATs are preparing to be dispatched. The three afflicted prefectures are each setting the areas for ongoing JMAT support, and teams are being assigned according to those instructions.

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