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Japan: Significant Needs in Remote Quake and Tsunami-hit Areas
March 14, 2011
Japan 2011 © JIJI PRESS
As access improves in the region of northeastern Japan that was devastated by last Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunamis it caused, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is finding serious needs in areas that had previously been impossible to reach by road.
MSF currently has a team of 10 people divided into three teams conducting mobile clinics and assessments in Miyagi prefecture.
The tsunamis decimated coastal areas, which are now becoming accessible by road due to the efforts of Japanese authorities. "In one area around Minamisanriku, in northern Miyagi, we were told by officials there were 9,200 people in 20 evacuation centers who needed water, non-food items and medical attention,” said Mikiko Dotsu, the coordinator of the MSF team.
Although injured people had been evacuated by helicopter from these areas, many elderly people were still there, some of whom were dehydrated, the coordinator said. “The chronic diseases of some of these elderly people are a cause for concern,” Mikiko said. MSF is now identifying specific needs—including oxygen, non-food items, medical items and water—and will work with Japanese authorities to assist these populations.
More MSF personnel staff are standing by in Japan and other countries to head to Miyagi prefecture to increase our assistance.
MSF continues to monitor the situation around Fukushima nuclear power plants. If there is a serious nuclear incident, it is only the Japanese government that will be in a position to react.