Mar. 11: In response to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast of Japan, AMDA decided to dispatch its first emergency relief team.
Mar. 12: AMDA team left for severely hit Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture and started to deliver medical assistance.
Mar. 15: While part of the team remained in Miyagi, the rest relocated to Kamaishi City and Ohtsuchicho in Iwate Pref. and initiated relief work.
Mar. 19: In response to the request from the worst hit Minamisanriki-cho (Miyagi), AMDA dispatched its relief team to provide medical relief.
Mar. 21: The work in Sendai (Miyagi) was completed (transferred to a local body.)
Mar. 31: The work in Kamaishi (Iwate) was completed (transferred to a local doctors¡Ç association.)
Apr. 20: The work in Minamisanriku-cho (Miyagi) and Ohtsuchicho (Iwate) were completed. While the activities were handed over to local bodies, services such as acupuncture therapy and health assistance have been continued.
Total number of AMDA’s relief personnel (as of Apr. 26th): 148
51 doctors, 33 nurses, 4 midwives, 2 assistant nurses, 3 pharmacists, 2 psychotherapists, 49 coordinators, 2 careworkers, 2 acupuncture therapists
Besides direct medical assistance, AMDA responded to various local needs such as setting up a playroom for children in the evacuation shelters, holding recreational events and nutrition programs as well as providing meals.
In line with the dispatch of medical teams, AMDA sent aid supplies using the hearty funds from its donors all around the world. The relief goods were prepared in response to the request from the local teams and were delivered seven times in total using a chartered-truck. Commercial delivery services were also used after they resumed their regular operations in the devastated regions. The goods included medical supplies, medical devices (electrocardiogram and ultrasound machines), food supplies (rice, vegetables), daily life goods, bicycles, stationery and appliances (washing machines, computers, batter chargers etc.)
The daily operations at the activity sites:
While AMDA teams were stationed at evacuation centers, the teams delivered mobile clinic services to homes and smaller (remote) evacuation shelters in the respective regions. There were far more numbers of patients with stress- related ailments and chronic diseases than those that needed surgical treatments.
Due to the stagnant recovery of lifelines, sanitary conditions got worsened which later developed into the outbreak of norovirus. However, various counter measures such as isolation of infected individuals, thorough sanitization efforts and awareness promotion have succeeded in halting the spread of the disease.
In addition, AMDA sent psychiatrists to help the evacuees that were fatigued both physically and mentally from prolonged evacuation life, and extended a helping hand to those who had been suffering from mental illnesses.
Besides incorporating acupuncture therapy in its services, AMDA also distributed life goods upon mobile clinic services.
In securing the privacy among evacuees in the shelters, AMDA provided partitions for each household, and also sent a medical trailer equipped with individual compartments.
Further scope of assistance:
In line with the recovery of local healthcare systems, AMDA will extend its assistance in the rehabilitation phase. In addition to ongoing acupuncture treatments and health support measures, AMDA will contribute to the rebuilding of local hospitals/medical institutions and provide medical personnel if needed.
AMDA has also set up a three-year scholarship program, starting this year, to back up high school students in the regions (Kamaishi High School, Ohtsuchi High School, Shizugawa High School) who wish to work in the medical field in the future.
Furthermore, a plan is underway for this summer to hold a sport-exchange event, inviting junior high school students from disaster areas to Okayama (home to AMDA). The event hopes to promote mutual understanding and friendship between students from Okayama and those from disaster areas who persevered the hardship.