Japan: MSF Team Continues to Assess Post-Quake Needs and Support Relief Effort

An expanded MSF team in northeast Japan continues to assist the massive government-led relief efforts in areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunamis last Friday.

Japan 2011 © JIJI PRESS

Houses in Miyagi Prefecture that were damaged by the tsunami that followed Friday's earthquake in northeast Japan.

The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team sent to the area devastated by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in northeast Japan continues to assist in the massive government-led relief effort. The team has expanded to 10 people working in Miyagi Prefecture, and additional personnel will head towards the area on Monday.

“On Sunday, we conducted mobile clinics and assessments in two evacuation centers,” said Mikiko Dotsu, the coordinator of the MSF team. “It appears that medical needs are increasing in evacuation centers.”

The situation remains difficult for the survivors of the disaster, with large swathes of the prefecture still without water or electricity.

On Monday, MSF's assessment team will split into two groups and expand their assessments to the south of Sendai City, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, as well as to more remote areas that were hit hard by the massive earthquake and tsunamis.

As they continue their assessments, the teams will focus on the particular needs of more vulnerable populations, including elderly people and young children, as well as people suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

MSF is closely monitoring the situation around the Fukushima nuclear power plants. In the event of a serious nuclear incident, it is only the Japanese government that will be in a position to react.