Japan / Earthquake and tsunami-6
Medical relief team departed on March 11 Friday at 17:30. Through Banetsu expressway to Tohoku Expressway via Kōriyama-shi, soon the ambulance started driving on local road with siren on all the way through. The ambulance was forced to return due to flooded roads caused by the Tsunami. The fact that there was relatively less destruction on roads and houses compared to Niigataken Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, describes the majority of destruction being caused by the massive Tsunami.
The following day on March 12 at 3:30am, the team arrived at Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital. The hospital with seismic isolated structure, equipped by the generator, enabled to keep the toilet still running. It was the only hospital with electricity available, the rest of facilities such as city hall, police station, health center, have been all flooded and lost the functions.
In the hospital, disaster response electric wires were already installed, hospital staffs were striving to sustain the hospital. Being the only functioning hospital in the affected area, the injured survivors continued to be transferred ceaselessly by helicopter.
On March 12 and 13, 10 medical relief teams supported the hospital and conducted mobile clinic in the affected area. The most serious problem was that relief has not yet reached on 13th, and a huge gap of information and communication entirely relying on the satellite phone. With the limited communication made with disaster response unit of Miyagi prefecture, we often felt frustration.
On March 13 in the afternoon, the hospital received around 100 patients in a critical condition. Many of them were suffering from severe hypothermia, a condition completely different from ordinary earthquake disaster.
While mobile clinic in the other affected areas started, there are many evacuation centers where we cannot access. After two days without drinking and eating at all, some of them patients started to develop acute stress disorder. It is urgently needed to provide psychological care to those patients.
The exhaustion of staff working for Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital is reaching to their limit, it is important to provide psychological care to the staff in the hospital.