News – 岩手医科大学 / Just another WordPress site Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:17:24 +0000 ja hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.7 【Emergency Message】 Regarding the Tohoku Pacific earthquake Message from the President(4) /en-news/13021001-kikaku/ Fri, 08 Apr 2011 08:47:04 +0000 /?p=16612 続きを読む ]]> Iwate Prefecture has received an unseasonably large quantity of snow. We are still experiencing cold weather, and spring appears to be a long way off. First, please allow me to extend my heartfelt greetings and good wishes to the nearly 200,000 [two hundred thousand] people, including 50,000[fifty-thousand] in Iwate alone, who are still living in evacuation centers. I pray that you may remain healthy and well.

The disaster-affected areas are experiencing changes on a daily basis. On April 5th, I traveled around 350[three hundred and fifty] kilometers to meet with the mayors from Miyako, Yamada, and Ozuchi, doctors from affected hospitals private practices whose clinics were damaged, and people still living in the evacuation centers. Today I would like to share with you what I heard and saw on my journey, and also to provide you details concerning the current conditions at my university.

Late last night (11:32 pm on April 7th), the largest aftershock to date struck, measuring more than 6 on the Japanese magnitude scale. As of this morning (April 8th), Iwate, Aomori, and Akita Prefectures remain without power, although all other vital supply lines are functioning. Damage to university facilities is still being assessed.

1. Characteristics of the Disaster

The national government has named the disaster the “Great East Japan Earthquake,” but this is a major misnomer. The massive tsunami that occurred after the earthquake caused far more destruction and loss of life. The list of casualties backs this up: over 8,000 [eight thousand]people have been reported dead or missing in Iwate Prefecture alone, accompanied by a relatively small number of 200 [two hundred]or fewer people injured. On the day the disaster struck, we received information that several hundred casualties would be transported from the coastal areas to the advanced emergency medical center of our university, which was designated as a key disaster-response hospital by the prefecture. Members of the medical staff were on emergency standby, but very few emergency patients were brought in. The most serious part of this disaster was not the earthquake; the disaster should have been called an “Earthquake-triggered major tsunami disaster,” at least from the perspective of ground zero. The name of the disaster better reflects the distance that was present between the disaster sites and the national government, who were not able to accurately assess the circumstances.

2. Daily Changes in Disaster Site Medical Care

Due to the incredible circumstances of this disaster, the first stage emergency medical response, including the deployment of DMAT, was extremely limited. Efforts quickly shifted to the second stage, which consisted of medical teams making rounds to evacuation centers. Healthcare activities began through the DMATs and JMATs from Hokkaido all the way to Okinawa, plus medical teams who had joined medical organizations, hospitals, and universities from around the country. At this point, the conditions in the evacuation centers were poor and resources for medical treatment were severely lacking. Despite the efforts on-site of medical teams, it must not be forgotten that lives were lost that day as a direct consequence of delays in the initial response. The national government’s disaster response headquarters were too far detached from the disaster sites and, as a result, they failed to understand the facts and pleas coming from the affected areas. It should be said that this detachment and failure to understand what was happening on the ground led to further delays in the execution of the emergency response.

At that time, the prefectural disaster-response medical headquarters, medical teams, evacuation centers, and hospitals had no central “command center.” No horizontal alliances had been set up, and thus all the various teams were forced to operate independently. Confusion reigned and all health care related matters were abundantly inefficient. Therefore, the Iwate Disaster Medical Support Network Center (Director: Satoshi Takahashi, Associate Professor, Neurology Dept.) was established within the prefectural medical headquarters. A broad alliance formed to enable integrated management and efficient operations of the medical teams assembled from around the country. This alliance included the prefectural government, Iwate Medical University, the physicians’ association, the nursing association, respective medical institutions, prefectural police headquarters, and self-defense forces. This public-private alliance dramatically improved the organization of medical teams for treatment at evacuation centers in the second stage.

We are now in the process of shifting towards the third stage. The transfers of affected citizens both within and without of the prefecture have reduced the number of evacuees. However, nearly 50,000 [fifty-thousand] remain camped at the nearly 350 [three hundred and fifty] evacuation centers along the coast of Iwate Prefecture. Focusing on areas in which hospitals have been destroyed and can no longer operate, we have opened aid stations (temporary clinics) at evacuation centers mainly in Rikuzen-Takada, Ozuchi, Yamada, and Taro, and efforts are underway to make these stations the hubs of medical treatment for their respective areas. If a reduction is seen in the number of medical facilities at the evacuation centers, outpatients will flock to key hospitals in Kuji, Miyako, Kamaishi, and Ofunado. That would be a heavy burden for these hospitals, as their capacity to operate under normal conditions has yet to be restored.

3. Victims Supporting Disaster Area Medicine

Local medical practitioners are also victims of the disaster. They have also lost family members and seen their homes washed away. They are performing medical care and treatment while spending their days at hospitals and their nights at evacuation centers. Nearly one month has passed since the disaster, and these medical practitioners may find themselves collapsing from the burden if these severely miserable conditions continue much longer. Therefore, we have been requesting construction of temporary quarters for medical personnel to aid the maintenance of their health, but the administrative government is painfully and decidedly slow to act. However, these arrangements are mandatory, even as a transitional measure, in order to sustain the adequate provision of regional health care. The lives of private-practice doctors in affected areas have been lost, too. Many clinics are damaged, and thus some doctors have been forced to reopen their practices on the second floor of their buildings.

Let us now look ahead to the fourth stage. The restoration of normal operating conditions and capacity will be necessary at Kuji, Miyako, Kamaishi, and Ofunado, key hospitals where operations are currently curtailed. A fifth stage remains further ahead. Health care is not necessary in uninhabited areas. The recovery of local towns and economies will require new health care delivery mechanisms that address the revitalized communities. The road to the fifth stage will be long, perhaps lasting 10 to 20 years.

4. Disaster-Response Community Health Care Support Office

This university has an additional function as a key prefectural disaster-response hospital. The governor has requested the university to control the organization of health care across the entire prefecture in the event of a disaster. As a result, the Disaster-Response Community Health Care Support Office (Director: Keisuke Hida, Lecturer, Surgery Dept.) was established to run parallel to the organization of emergency medical teams for evacuation centers and provide support to the key hospitals within the prefecture. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Science, we are recruiting independent personnel and those from universities and hospitals nationwide who can assist with the provision of long-term health care. International offers to provide assistance have also been received. Presently, six individuals have been acquired who are able to provide such long-term support at key hospitals in affected areas.

5. Additional Support Request

As of April 6th, 3,668 [three thousand, six hundred and sixty-eight] people from Iwate Prefecture had been reported dead. The Iwate Prefecture Physicians Association, accompanied by support from the police and Forensic Science Department of the university, is in charge of identification of the victims. Thus far, aided by the cooperation of university physicians across the prefecture, we have nearly completed a full search for victims in the disaster-affected areas. However, approximately 50 [fifty] new bodies are found every day, and this is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, as time elapses since the disaster, identification becomes increasingly difficult. Preservation of samples for DNA authentication is proceeding, as well as identification work through dental records under the auspices of the Iwate Prefecture Dentists Association.

6. Conditions of Affected Areas: April 5th

In the city of Miyako, the disaster headquarters is operating with great energy. The mayor is taking charge on the top floor of City Hall, which sustained damage up to the second floor. Fortunately, prefectural Miyako Hospital is located on elevated ground and was not damaged. It is currently open and accepting daily visits. However, outpatient visits are fewer than expected, perhaps because the tsunami carried way a large number of automobiles, and thus patients are having trouble finding alternate means of transportation to the hospital.

Yamada-cho was reduced to piles of rubble and is in an especially tragic condition. I cannot forget those residents, who seemed to be in a state of shock while standing in front of the empty spaces where their homes once stood. Yamada-cho was truly stuck by three major disasters: first, the earthquake; second, the tsunami; and finally, the fires through the night that broke out from oil burning on the surface of the water. There is nothing left of the building adjacent to town hall; it burned down and its steel frame was completely melted. Otherwise, signs of fires are evident everywhere. I can hardly imagine how residents felt that first night without any electricity, the only light coming from the flames that were engulfing the town.

Yamada Hospital, Ozuchi Hospital, and Takada Hospital have all completely stopped functioning. Except for one clinic on relatively high ground, every clinic in Yamada-cho and Ozuchi-cho was decimated. All dental clinics were also destroyed. However, the morale of affected medical personnel remains high, and they are applying all their efforts toward opening temporary clinics, despite the horrid conditions. I also know a doctor who is targeted on opening a temporary clinic by mid-April.

7. There is No Revitalization of Medical Care Without Revitalization of the Community

The town and its residents both have to come back in order for health care to recover. The indented Rias coast of Sanriku has little level ground. Shopping and residential districts formed towns in concentrated developments, which were devastated. Nobody wants to be considered a fool and rebuild on ground that is susceptible to another tsunami; however, schools, public halls, and other homes already occupy the little land available on higher elevations. There is not even space for temporary housing, which means that a necessary quantity of housing may not be able to be built. Civil engineering technology available today allows for the creation of level ground by cutting into the mountains. No other foreseeable route is apparent if these towns are to be restored.

Based on Shinpei Goto’s restoration plan for the Imperial Capital after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the responsibility for organizing the social fabric lies with the nation and the national government. The most important mission for the national government is to aid the victims who have lost their families, homes, jobs, and livelihood and to prevent them from becoming disaster refugees, and to aid them. It is also the duty of the government to revitalize the affected communities. I urgently request that the government lends a full ear to the conditions and circumstances in the local communities, keep an eye on their efforts, and make policy decisions quickly and efficiently.

8. Long Road to Community Restoration

The restoration of towns and communities will require time, perhaps decades. Providing health care for the affected people during this restoration period must continue unabated. Health care is expected to be needed at evacuation centers and temporary housing sites for a number of years. During this time, I ask everyone in Japan to do their best to help provide extended health care support at evacuation centers, temporary clinics, and key hospitals in the affected areas.

9. Request for Medical Assistance

Medical assistance in Iwate Prefecture is under integrated management and coordination. Please contact the following organizations if you are interested in helping.

(1) For dispatch of medical teams to evacuation centers and temporary clinics:

Iwate Disaster Medical Support Network Center (Director: Satoshi Takahashi, Associate Professor, Neurology Dept.)

c/o [“care of”] Iwate Prefectural Medical Headquarters

Phone: 019-625-3113

E-mail: iwatedmc@gmail.com

(2) For dispatch of physicians to key hospitals:

Disaster-Response Community Health Care Support Office (Director: Keisuke Hida, Lecturer, Surgery Dept.)

c/o Disaster-Response Community Health Care Support Office, Iwate Medical University

Phone: 019-651-5111, extension 7021

E-mail: saigaishien@iwate-med.ac.jp

10. University Activities

Logistics operations across the three most heavily damaged prefectures in the Tohoku Region, Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, have improved considerably. Nonetheless, full recovery has yet to be achieved, and the relocation of approximately 360 freshmen who were to enter medical, dental, and pharmacy schools has been delayed. In addition, an integrated, reorganized curriculum was planned for the basic course of study across the medical and dental schools. Fundamental medicine and dentistry were combined into an integrated curriculum for second- and third-year students. To accomplish this, the practice laboratory needed to be transferred from the old building at Uchimaru to the new building at the newly established Yahaba campus, but work has been postponed since March 11. The entrance ceremony and new school year schedules are now set forth as follows, based on recovery forecasts.

The entrance ceremony will be held on April 28th (Thursday), and the new school year will begin on May 9th, after the holidays for first-year medical, dental, and pharmacy, and second- and third-year medical and dental students. Other classes will begin during the new school year at the beginning of April. Among all the negatives that surround such a major disaster, I consider these circumstances the most fortunate.

As I reflect upon the numerous disaster victims who are unable to rebuild their daily living environment, I strongly ask our students, who have the privilege to continue their studies in a good environment, to recognize their good fortune and commit even harder to their studies.

11. Students Affected by Disaster

The university has a current enrollment of over 2,000 [two thousand] students within the medical, dental, and pharmacy schools. Fortunately, no students or faculty members were victims of the disaster, but more than 100 [one hundred] students have been affected by loss of their family members or homes, or the loss of employment or livelihood of their parents. We are currently surveying the magnitude of damage on an individual basis, but without economic assistance, a significant number of students may find it difficult to continue their studies. The university intends to extend maximum support. I urge students who need assistance to consult with the student support office (phone: 019-651-5111, extension 5513).

12. Request for Donation Funds

Revitalization following this major disaster will take a number of years. We have already substantial donations, and for that, I wish to extend my deepest gratitude. However, donations are still needed for the following purposes:

(1) Economic assistance to disaster-affected students who face difficulty in continuing their studies

(2) Funding to support long-term community health care in affected areas

(3) Restoration of educational facilities within the university that were damaged by the disaster

Most fortunately, the university suffered no damages to its structural facilities. However, even though relatively small, damage to the newly installed 7T MRI scanner, ruptured piping, and numerous light breakages combined into a fairly large sum. As I previously mentioned, the need for community health care in affected areas is expected to continue for some time. Support in the form of economic assistance that allows affected students to continue their studies is necessary and of the utmost importance. Although the university and alumni association are planning to extend maximum support, the magnitude of the disaster and the fact that many students are affected mean that this extended support may not be enough to handle the amount of assistance required. That is why I am now earnestly asking for support from everyone across Japan. I would be immensely grateful if you could find the time to refer to the page on the university’s website entitled, “Acceptance of Disaster Donation Funds.”

Sincerely,

Akira Ogawa, CEO, Iwate Medical University

 

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【Emergency Message】 Regarding the Tohoku Pacific earthquake Message from the President(3) /en-news/11032201-kikaku/ Tue, 22 Mar 2011 09:51:05 +0000 /?p=3697 続きを読む ]]> March 22, 2011

“Too shocking for words, a tragedy beyond belief”

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to all those offering support and encouragement following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
It is now approximately a week since the disaster struck, and the situation at Iwate Medical University has calmed down to a degree. On Saturday March 19 I visited some of the worst affected areas and was able to observe the situation in the evacuation centres and talk directly to the directors of the core hospitals and the doctors involved.

1. Situation in the affected areas.
During the last week I have talked directly with those who have visited the affected areas, talked via satellite phone with those who are there, and seen the images broadcast by the media, so I felt able to grasp the reality of the situation to some extent. However, the scenes I saw first-hand in the affected areas far surpass anything imaginable.
Leaving Morioka and travelling via Tono and Sumita, I visited the coastal area including the heavily affected cities of Rikuzen-Takata, Ofunato, and Kamaishi. The journey of just under 120km to Rikuzen-Takata took 3 hours. Travelling on the mountain pass towards the city of Rikuzen-Takata, facing Hirota bay, I passed the sign signaling 7km to the scenic spot Takada-Matsubara before either the sea or the town became visible. The Kesen River flowing to the right was still some 8km from the sea here, yet was filled with a mountain of wood and debris from destroyed houses, and the houses on its banks had been destroyed. It is an unbelievable sight in a mountain area from which one cannot even see the sea. I fear for the safety of those who were living there.
As we reached the point from which Hirota bay and Rikuzen-Takata city are visible, an even more shocking scene appeared before my eyes. A town with a population of over twenty thousand has simply disappeared. With the exception of a few buildings, the vast plain between this point and the sea is one giant mass of debris. The area where Takada-Matsubara forest and the tsunami barrier once stood is now part of the sea. The size of the contrast between the beauty of Hirota bay and the destruction of the town and Takada-Matsubara forest is too shocking for words.
Ofunato and Kamaishi are comparatively large ports that were home to some fifty thousand people. In both, the town centre was adjacent to the port, and has been almost completely destroyed. The steel factory warehouse retains the shape of a building, but has also been destroyed. The sight of large ships sitting atop buildings far inland from the port underlines the sheer scale and difficulty of the task of rebuilding these towns.
The scenic inlets between Ofunato and Kamaishi are dotted with settlements at places such as Okirai, Yoshihama, and Toni. Following historical experiences with the Meiji Sanriku-oki tsunami (1896) and the Chile earthquake tsunami (1960), tsunami barriers had been constructed, but it’s said that this tsunami reached over 24 metres in height, such that even the giant 10-metre barrier was powerless to stop it. These settlements, where many houses once jostled for position, have been razed to the ground and replaced by nothing but flat earth.

2. Delays in supplying gasoline and power.
When the disaster struck, the most urgent request from the affected areas was for gasoline and power (see 1st and 2nd Message from the President). Banri Kaieda, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry was swift to announce on the evening of March 14 that energy would be supplied even if it meant using up all the nation’s oil reserves, but it did not start reaching the affected prefectures until March 19, and it has still not reached the evacuation centres, hospitals, and treatment facilities in the worst-affected areas. As of March 21, the few gas stations that are open are facing lines of 300 or more cars. This delay, combined with the worsening situation in the evacuation centres, has resulted in the deaths of a far from small number of victims. The government’s slow initial response to the disaster must be deemed wholly inadequate, and the increase in the number of victims that has resulted from this delay of several days should lead to serious reflection. The threat of a further sharp increase in the number of victims will depend on what action is taken from now on.

3. Restoration of essential communication lines.
At present in Iwate, 49,454 people displaced by the tsunami are being housed in some 400 evacuation centres (figures from the Prefectural Disaster Response Centre). However, there are still some evacuation centres that have not been identified or for which figures are not available. Relief supplies are being delivered. However, the necessary supplies are not reaching the evacuation centres and hospitals that need them most, and the situation is still very unstable at some evacuation centres. The establishment of communication lines would allow need to be conveyed, and together with the improving transport network would enable supplies to go where they are needed. However, with (in most cases) no means of communication, the situation in the evacuation centres is appalling. Even core hospitals, limited to one satellite phone, are restricted in their communications. Averting a further disaster depends on establishing temporary cellular phone base stations and the swift restoration of land lines.

4. Activities of evacuation centre medical teams.
From the outset, Iwate Medical University has been dispatching up to five medical teams each day to evacuation centres. In addition, assistance has been provided from all over the country, for example in the form of DMAT and JMAT teams. Their activities are also being hampered by problems with communication. A few days ago a team of 30 left the IMU base in Tono for various evacuation centres. Their first problem is that they have no means of communication between leaving in the morning and returning at night, putting their safety in danger and making it impossible to convey new instructions. A second problem is that they are unable to contact evacuation centres in advance, making it difficult to ascertain needs and plan accordingly. A third problem is that medical teams from different areas sometimes converge on the same evacuation centre, making it necessary to move to another evacuation centre, and thus resulting in a highly inefficient division of resources. Furthermore, a fourth problem is that in a situation with limited numbers of doctors, advance parties (reconnaissance parties) are having to be formed and sent ahead for reconnaissance missions at unconfirmed evacuation centres. The inefficiency could be significantly reduced by the restoration of communication lines (cellular phone networks and land lines).
In order to smoothly regulate the supply of medical assistance, Iwate Medical University is taking the leading role in holding discussions with Iwate Medical Association, the Japan Red Cross, and Iwate Prefectural Government, and within the Iwate Prefectural Disaster Response Center has been established the Iwate Disaster Medical Support Network. This is allowing for improved coordination of medical relief efforts from different areas. Medical support groups are being coordinated through Iwate Medical Care Promotion Office.

5. Provision of medical treatment in affected areas.
A week has passed since the earthquake and tsunami struck, and we have moved beyond the stage of emergency medical response. We must recognize that a long battle still lies ahead.
The scale of this disaster exceeds that of anything we have experienced before. Even more than the 50,000 people in evacuation centres (in Iwate alone) do not even have homes to return to. I expect that temporary housing will be constructed, but this alone will not solve the problem. The issue is how best to help the many people who have lost their families, jobs, and possessions, seen their homes swept away, and now stand to become “disaster refugees.” The problem is far greater than the problem of “medical treatment.” The solution must be determined by politicians. Finding that solution is an enormous task that has been entrusted to the current government.
The immediate problem is how to provide medical relief to the disaster-hit areas from tomorrow. Building temporary housing for tens of thousands of people is no simple task. Life in the evacuation centres will not be over soon. Thus after the first phase of disaster medical relief focused on emergency medical treatment, we are now moving into a second phase that will focus on the temporary provision of treatment for chronic illnesses, and the management of health and sanitation in order to prevent a secondary disaster occurring. The issue now is how to provide temporary medical care in an efficient and organized way in the evacuation centres. In Iwate alone the disaster area spans a coastline stretching 200km from north to south. The prefectural governor has entrusted Iwate Medical University Hospital, the core disaster medical hospital for the whole prefecture, to operate as a centre for disaster medical treatment and coordinate efforts throughout the whole prefecture. Dr. Kobayashi, Director of Iwate Medical University Hospital, is acting as Director of Iwate Medical University Hospital Disaster Response Centre, and has been visiting evacuation centres in the affected areas, working to establish coordinated provision of medical care in evacuation centres, and starting up the aforementioned Iwate Disaster Medical Support Network.
In addition, as the third stage will involve a long-term battle, fixed temporary treatment centres will need to be established at the core evacuation centres.
On the other hand, in the near future when sufficient provision of gasoline, food, and daily necessities becomes possible, it will become possible to move people around and the core hospitals will see an influx of patients requiring treatment for chronic illnesses. This is the fourth stage. In the fourth stage, we will require both the reconstruction of treatment centres in the devastated coastal regions, and the renewal of the core prefectural hospitals.

6. The future
This disaster of unprecedented proportions represents a crisis that cannot be overstated. We must realize that the rebuilding process will be a long-term challenge surpassing that faced after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. However, even thought the recovery is slow at present, we are moving forward and the situation is changing day-by-day. It goes without saying that the medical requirements are changing as well.
There are not enough doctors or medical staff, and the staff on the front line are working at the limit of their capabilities. However, while the desire to offer support is an extremely welcome one, if too much support is offered at once the result is chaos. At the request of the Prefectural Governor, enquiries are being handled as follows: regarding medical support at evacuation centres contact Iwate Disaster Medical Support Network (tel 019-629-5407); regarding medical support via prefectural hospitals please contact Iwate Medical University Disaster Zone Medical Support Centre (tel 019-651-5111 ext. 7021).
The situation is evolving rapidly, and further details will follow about the relief effort.
The most important thing is to give “long-lasting” support. I ask for your understanding and cooperation in the face of this unprecedented disaster.
It may sound demanding and repetitive, but again I hope that the provision of gasoline (energy) and the restoration of communication lines (cellular phones and land lines) will be given top priority, as this is the wish that has been conveyed to me by those in charge at all areas of the disaster zone.
The situation in the affected areas is thus still highly unstable. Once again I express my strong desire for the government to implement effective crisis management measures.

Akira Ogawa
President, Iwate Medical University

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【Emergency Message】 Regarding the Tohoku Pacific earthquake Message from the President(2) /en-news/11031701-kikaku/ Thu, 17 Mar 2011 09:41:31 +0000 /?p=3690 続きを読む ]]> March 17, 2011

My first message concerning the Tohoku Pacific earthquake was made available on our homepage 2 days ago.
However, the situation is evolving rapidly. As the core disaster area hospital, Iwate Medical University is working closely with the prefectural government, serving as the centre of efforts throughout the prefecture, and I wish to report on the current situation.
I previously noted that the focus is moving away from the provision of emergency medical treatment and towards efforts to prevent a secondary disaster occurring, through both treatment of chronic illnesses within the evacuation centres, and the management of health and sanitation. However, even though relief supplies are arriving, there have been delays in getting them to the evacuation centres, the situation in some isolated evacuation centres so desperate that one rice ball must be shared between four people, and many problems are affecting the delivery of food supplies to each evacuation centre. From the Evacaution Centre Medical Treatment Base set up in Tono (Fukushi no Sato), close to the disaster area but itself relatively unscathed by the earthquake, evacuation centre medical teams from Iwate Medical University are being dispatched to the areas south of Miyako that suffered destruction on a massive scale. Large evacuation centres serving 800~900 people are finding themselves having to deal with over 200 requiring medical attention. At present in Iwate, some 50,000 evacuees are taking refuge in 375 centres. (Figures as of March 16 from the Prefectural Disaster Response Centre.) However, there are many other survivors and evacuation centres the details of which are not yet known.
In addition, Ofunato Prefectural Hospital, the core general hospital in the Kesen area, has seen its surrounding towns of Rikuzen-Takata and Ofunato almost completely destroyed, and medical facilities in the town are no longer able to function. Comparatively undamaged because of its location on higher ground, Ofunato Prefectural Hospital is now the only facility in the area able to offer medical treatment. However, staff with no homes to return to are being forced to stay at the hospital. With food supplies exhausted, they are forced to go on working with severely limited resources. They are also at the limit of exhaustion.
Emergency supplies of food and other resources have arrived at the distribution centres. There is a shortage of medications and medical supplies, but what is required most urgently of all right now is GASOLINE. For sending medical teams to evacuation centres, for sending doctors to maintain medical service provision in coastal hospitals, for transporting staff to keep hospitals functioning, gasoline is needed. For delivering food, medications, and medical supplies to the evacuation centres and the core hospitals in affected coastal areas the problem is the same: There is not enough gasoline.
Given the situation, from the start the authorities have been receiving strong demands for the supply of gasoline and other energy sources. Banri Kaieda, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, announced on the evening of March 14 that fuel would be supplied from national reserves. Although 3 days have since passed, there is still no sign of fuel supplies reaching the affected areas. How this unjust situation could have been allowed to arise is completely beyond my understanding.
Another extremely important concern is that there is no way to communicate with the evacuation centres and hospitals. The resulting lack of information is hampering the recovery effort by making it difficult to distribute manpower and supplies appropriately. It is my profound hope that telephone and other communication lines will be reestablished without delay.
The disaster area at present is a BATTLEFIELD. A delay of a few hours can become a serious problem that threatens the lives of those in the evacuation centres. The worst case scenario has become reality. This is no longer peacetime. If the cries of those in the affected areas go unheard, if we simply allow time to pass, then we will not be able to safeguard our citizens’ lives.
It is against this background that I asked the Prefectural Governor in the strongest terms to secure the necessary resources. As a result, today, March 17, the Governor asked the government’s Disaster Response Unit to make the necessary resources available, and a swift response from the government is eagerly anticipated.
I ask that the government make even greater efforts to respond with the utmost urgency to the situation.

Akira Ogawa
President, Iwate Medical University

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【Emergency Message】 Regarding the Tohoku Pacific earthquake Message from the President(1) /en-news/11031501-kikaku/ Tue, 15 Mar 2011 09:34:27 +0000 /?p=3682 続きを読む ]]> March 15, 2011

I express my heartfelt condolences to the many victims of the Tohoku Pacific earthquake.
Since the earthquake we have received messages of concern and support from all over the country, from which all the staff have drawn strength and courage.
Despite being struck by an earthquake of historic scale, fortunately injuries and structural damage in inland areas were minimal, and Iwate Medical University is still able to fulfill its roles as a technologically advanced hospital, a core disaster hospital, and an advanced emergency medical service center.
However, as reported in the press and on television, coastal areas of Iwate have suffered catastrophic damage, with many people losing their lives, and even more being forced to seek refuge in evacuation centres.
Furthermore, the medical services are shifting their focus to the prevention of a secondary disaster, by moving beyond emergency medical treatment and onto the treatment of chronic illnesses in evacuation centres, and health and hygiene management. Through the Iwate Medical University Hospital Disaster Response Unit, we are doing our utmost to provide the disaster relief that is being requested, responding to each change in the situation of the medical services, offering medical treatment in evacuation centres, and offering support to regional hospitals.
Nevertheless, the most urgent problem at this time is the lack of fuel (gasoline, fuel oil) throughout the prefecture. This is starting to impact both the dispatching of medical teams and the maintenance of hospital functions. Furthermore, medications and medical supplies are lacking, and we are calling on the government to respond urgently and appropriately to the situation.
We at Iwate Medical University will do everything we can to contribute to a swift recovery from this unprecedented disaster, and I humbly call upon you all to make concerted efforts to offer your support to the fullest possible extent.

Akira Ogawa
President, Iwate Medical University

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