Tohoku and Kumamoto: Long-Term Medical Issues

by International Medical Crisis Response Alliance Vetted since 2012
Bystander Correct Response Before EMT Arrival
Bystander Correct Response Before EMT Arrival

 Dear Friends,

Your generous support over the past year has helped us immensely with compiling a detailed handbook, a set of videos and several addtional materials encompassing "What-To-Do-If" instructions applicable to future earthquake disasters in Japan and elsewhere. While much of this material is suitable for onsite physicians and nurses, there are also several components of this program's output which speak directly to the victims both in the immediate aftermath of the event as well as in the months and years that follow.  Publicity has been excellent and the personal data collection colloquium which we held in Japan last year was excellent and we were pleased that NHK World TV news featured a nearly two minute segment on the event.  IMCRA will be making this material available globally soon.

Upon assembling this material, one thing became very clear.  There are seldom if ever trained medical professionals directly on hand at the exact time when a medical crisis is occurring.  Further, in many regions even emergency response will be delayed or impossible due to infrastructure damage.  Even in the absence of such damage, simple terrain and logistical issues (e.g. traffic jams) can prevent help from arriving when it is most needed.

Surprisingly, there is a way to partially remediate this problem by a device that has become nearly ubiquitous worldwide, the smartphone.  A new program IMCRA is launching this month is called: "Prompt Intervention Volunteer 1st Aid Tutorials" (PIVAT) and is being organized across several countries for full deployment in early 2018.  The PIVAT program provides short easy-to-follow and easy-to-acces native-language tutorials on correct First Aid procedures to be used by lay bystanders in cases of arterial bleeding, drowning, electric shock, stroke and other life threatening emergencies that can either accompany a major natual disaster or occur spontaneously. 

Since there is currently so much evidence of bystanders simply taking smartphone videos of injured people or trying to administer often useless folk remedies (e.g. running with a drowned child) or dangerously incorrect First Aid (e.g.pounding on a victim's chest without administering artificial respiration) our medical faculty concluded that anyone with an interest and desire to help in a way that would at least do no further harm, should be able to do so effectively.  The program has just become available for support on the GlobalGiving website and can be found at: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/pivat-prompt-intervention-volunteer-aid-tutorials/.

Given the initiation of the new project, we will be transferring most of this program's resources to PIVAT and sincerely hope you will continue your interest and support for what we are doing in that endeavour!

 

Thank you!

 

 

International First Aid Basics
International First Aid Basics
Saved a Life
Saved a Life
Conclusion of Earthquake Relief Program
Conclusion of Earthquake Relief Program
the hard working IMCRA relief team
the hard working IMCRA relief team
A Life Saved: Prompt Intervention in a Drowning
A Life Saved: Prompt Intervention in a Drowning

Links:

Conference covered by NHK Television
Conference covered by NHK Television

Dear Friends of IMCRA

Last year we were finally able to gather together both survivors of and first responders to the significant earthquakes, tsunamis and infrastructure disruption that have plagued Japan at intervals since 2011.  As you'll see from the attached photos and media coverage, the colloquium was a stunning success and we were able to collect a great deal of both personal and practical information, applicable to prevention and recovery both for the people of Japan, as well as for other populations facing similar disasters, as they surely will in the future.

Our dilemma at present is translating all of the collected materials into English ( and ideally into 2 or 3 other key languages) so that the hardships suffered by Japanese survivors will benefit the rest of the world at large.  Although some of our small team of translators want to do this for free, it's a bit much to ask of them and there is a LOT of material

So our report and plea this time is quite simple: If you can find your way clear to help this particular mission financially, now is a good time to do so.  We'd like to get a handbook of response as well as a Medical Journal article (from the perspective of survivors as well as first responders) out by year's end.

The benefits of this material are universal and universally enduring, so many thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Sincerely,

The IMCRA Team

Conference attended by survivors / 1st responders
Conference attended by survivors / 1st responders
Conference Faculty
Conference Faculty

Links:


Attachments:
Onsite Collaborations
Onsite Collaborations

Dear Friends,

Over 6 months ago IMCRA redirected its earthquake recovery resources to the then-recent disaster in Kumamoto Japan.  While this tragedy never received as much attention or coverage as does so much of the human misery which has dominated our consciousness in the 21st Century, it provided a very definite focal point for using our accumulated experience to do something enduringly useful to help suffering humanity worldwide.

Why and how does something become "enduringly useful"?   It's a sobering question, but one with an easy answer: When it lasts.  We live in a era when the outrage meter has saturated long ago.  Atrocities are now the widespread province of individuals as well as of governments and military forces.  We are being indoctrinated with the concept of deliberate lies as "alternate facts".  There is very little that is reassuring or pleasant in the daily news.  One horror blends into another and we lose our perspective on how life should be, given the technological and scientific advancements of 2017.

So it may be with international medical disasters.  Our partners and supporters may wonder: "Yet another earthquake or flood?"  "What's special about this one?"  "Didn't we just help with this last month?"  "Same old, same old..."  In fact, often the only distinguishing thing about some of the medical disasters we work with through IMCRA is that many are natural, rather than man-made.

IMCRA was founded in response to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and radiation disaster in Tohoku, Japan.  Since that time the medical and practical expertise we have collected in this program has been applied and refined in response to the Nepalese earthquake of 2015, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the Sewol tragedy in Korea and now most recently to the earthquake in lovely, friendly Kumamoto.  Thus we've built up a critical mass of outstanding expertise in multiple languages, and the renowned faculty recruited to meet these needs.  The issues surrounding clean water access and use and in a wrecked city in Nepal are not terribly different from those impacting earthquake survivors in Japan.  A case of pneumonia in a child in Vietnam may be approached similarly to that in a Syrian child is in a refugee camp in Bosnia.  The medical dangers faced by displaced and isolated elderly in China do not differ much from those faced by similarly impacted elderly in West Africa.  We are all the same species, with the same physiological responses to medical crises.

This is IMCRA's endutingly useful service.  With the recent anhancement of our Kumamoto program following last years's 4th Colloquium and workshop in Japan we now have well over 150 expert modules on emergency medical topics which are applicable worldwide.  Although many are now in English as well as the language of the focus area, the best global utility is acheived by having all materials, spoken, illustrative and reference translated into English.   This is our goal in acheiving a universally useable and accessible online Encyclopedia of Disaster Response, and it is also where we need your help.  Translation and reconfiguring for best international access is often a long and tedious process, no less an expensive one.  But it is also an endeavor that will stand the test of time and keep on serving the innocent and needful good people of the world for decades.

Please help us out now, and next time you are tempted to think: "Ho hum, more calls for help, for yet another crisis..." remember that by aiding in this effort, you are doing something that will endure and fulfil thousands for decades in places and times yet unimagined.   Thank you.

Our Core Japanese Faculty
Our Core Japanese Faculty
The Basics of What We Do
The Basics of What We Do
Our Library of Therapeutic Expertise
Our Library of Therapeutic Expertise
Our Poster and Access Information
Our Poster and Access Information

Links:

Continued thanks for help in Japan
Continued thanks for help in Japan

One particularly good thing about global medical knowledge and expertise is that it only gets better with time.   On July 31st of this year IMCRA held its long-awaited colloquium and workshop focused on lessons learned from the long-term aspects of disaster recovery.

Since that time we have been involved in translating both the presentations given and the the insights gleaned from participants involved in the workshop.

An outstanding finding is that what we are learning about how people survive and react to the aftermath of a horrifying experience is as applicable in the multiduninous refugee camps of Europe and the Mediterranian as it is the homes and hospital rooms of terrorism victims in Nice and now Berlin.  While IMCRA cannot prevent horrors, both manmade and natural, from taking place, we can be instrumental in remedying the havoc they cause worldwide. 

Our goal is to demonstrate, in sharing this expertise worldwide that, despite recent political events in the United States, there remain millions who see beyond short term reactionary furor, and understand that humanity can survive only as a global community which shares knowledge, understanding and compassion.  Please join us in sustaining this effort and hopefully making the future less uncertain.

Reny Juita en route to IMCRA session in Indonesia
Reny Juita en route to IMCRA session in Indonesia
Sharing knowledge in Thailand
Sharing knowledge in Thailand
The healing continues in Japan
The healing continues in Japan
Dr. Shigemura discusses caregiver "overload"
Dr. Shigemura discusses caregiver "overload"

After three years of planning and promotion, IMCRA and our affiliates conducted our fourth major colloquium/workshop in Japan titled: "The Long-Term Caregiver Experience: Patients, Providers, Pragmatics".  The event took place in Sendai City on July 31st and attracted dozens of attendees, both survivors and medical personnel concerned with the long-term aspects of disaster recovery. Equally as important as onsite attendance, the event was televised by the NHK World News network, and was picked up by multiple newspapers and medical journals in Japan.

Five years after the Tohoku event and six months after the Kumamoto earthquake, the need for survivors and caregivers to get together and exchange stories was particularly acute.  What became clear during the colloquium, via the workshop which followed, and in the responses and queries received in the wake of media coverage, it is during the months and years which follow a disaster that the emptiness and loss encountered becomes most tangible and most harmful.  Survivors are impacted by PTSD, environmental disorientation, loss of livelihood and loss of family support networks. Children are frequently adrift in a new world their parents are not fully in control of. In the elderly chronic medication needs are neglected and suicides become distressingly common.  Among the most neglected victims are the medical and psychological professionals who have struggled to help such populations for years.

Unfortunately, there is still very little easily-accessible data on the long-term medical/psychological pitfalls of disaster recovery.  Thus, the most important outcome of this event will be the compiling and synthesis of new and personalized recommendations/guidelines for both caregivers and survivors (often one and the same) to use during the years ahead.  Going further, the experience of Japan can serve as a touchstone for peoples throughout the world experiencing similar disasters.

It took only one look at the relief and release on the faces of our attendees to reassure us that what we were doing now was something long overdue and underealized.   Much of the work still lies ahead though; the workshop data must be compiled and translated, recommendations and guidelines must be created, vetted through our faculty and distributed, the video modules and publications engendered by this and earlier meetings must be effectively disseminated.  Please join us in making this happen rapidly.  Please help us make the future less uncertain for so many.

Dr. Suzuki - Behavioral Therapies
Dr. Suzuki - Behavioral Therapies
Survivors and caregivers share years of experience
Survivors and caregivers share years of experience
Dr Hedberg at the U.N. - Disaster Survivor PTSD
Dr Hedberg at the U.N. - Disaster Survivor PTSD
The resilience of spirit in Japan
The resilience of spirit in Japan

Links:

 

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Organization Information

International Medical Crisis Response Alliance

Location: Norwalk, Connecticut - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.imcra.net/​
Project Leader:
Thomas G. Hedberg
New York, NY United States
$7,256 raised of $63,000 goal
 
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