Kikuchi S, Kikuchi T.
Keio J Med. 2012 Mar;61(1):23-7.
On March 11, 2011, a gigantic earthquake struck eastern Japan. Utilities such as electricity, water, gas and telecommunication were interrupted. In Koriyama, the City Hall collapsed and government administration offices had to be moved to a nearby baseball stadium that had been designed to include facilities for use during a pandemic. An operations center was set up in this stadium. As members of the Koriyama Medical Association, we following the disaster protocol and set up our operations center in the Koriyama Medical Care Hospital. One large hospital with 280 inpatients and another hospital with 150 inpatients had been heavily damaged. Transfer of those patients to other hospitals without the use of telecommunications was extremely difficult.
Many doctors in member hospitals and clinics went out of their way to cooperate throughout the crisis. Up to 5,000 people from the radiation evacuation zone were rushed to Koriyama. They stayed in schools and community centers, where we provided them with healthcare. Even in Koriyama, which is 60 km away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, radiation levels were high, especially for the first few weeks. Citizens were advised to stay at home and keep their doors and windows closed. These drastic measures and frequent earthquake aftershocks were very stressful, especially for children. To help prevent children from developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a project team composed of various groups caring for children was developed, and this team took action to protect children. Through these efforts we hoped to provide children with an appropriate environment to grow normally, even in a zone of persistent low-level radiation. We demonstrated once again that our members' long history of mutual assistance and cooperation with the administration was the main cornerstone to overcome the crisis.