As access improves in the region devastated by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunamis in northeast Japan, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is finding serious needs among pockets of populations 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, following the huge earthquake and resulting tsunamis last Friday.
The tsunamis have decimated coastal areas, which after huge efforts of Japanese authorities, are now becoming accessible by road.
“In one area around Minamisanriku, in northern Miyagi, we were told by officials there were 9,200 people in 20 evacuation centres 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, there were a lot of elderly people, 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 - which include 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.