Due to the decline in emergency medical needs at AMDA’s activity base (Hiroyasu Elementary School) in Mashiki-machi, AMDA’s medical assistance is entering the secondary stage where acupuncturists, care workers and physiotherapists are playing an active role in taking care of the evacuees. The most notable and unique attempt is a collaborative mobile clinic conducted by the team of medical personnel with different specialties. Having doctor, nurse, care worker and physiotherapist in one team helps tackle issues from different angles, and this has contributed to uplift the overall quality of medical care.
On May 1st, the elderly evacuees who are in need of constant nursing care were offered to take a bath at a local nursing home. Having a bath after almost a half month, it brought them great comfort and relief.
The acupuncture therapies offered at Hiroyasu Elementary School have been well appreciated, attracting more than 40 visitors daily. The acupuncturists are helping the evacuees with body aches and other physical complaints. The patients say they are able to sleep better after the treatment.
Meanwhile, some of the acupuncturists are reflecting their experience and expertise gained through working at AMDA Otsuchi Health Support Center in Iwate Prefecture which was established after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Not only easing the physical symptoms, the therapists also think it is equally important to secure a private space for evacuees in maintaining their mental health.
The needs for care workers and physiotherapists have been increasing as evacuation life gets extended. While care workers are providing oral care, toileting assistance and bedsore prevention for bed-ridden evacuees, physiotherapists are working to improve the living environment by promoting the use of tatami mats, mattresses and cardboard beds. They are constantly going around the shelter to see how elderly people are doing; trying to keep them well and active.
While schools are scheduled to resume on Monday, May 9th, what is heard among the evacuees is the uncertainty about their future, considering the current state. Also, suspicious individuals have been reported at night, hence patrols were held by AMDA personnel.
On March 3rd, The Consortium of Universities in Okayama and Okayama Association of Corporate Executives joined hands in sending a group of student volunteers to AMDA’s activity site. 25 students spent three days volunteering at the elementary school, cleaning the classrooms and school yard to be in time for its resuming.
Moreover, to cheer up the local children, koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks traditionally flown on the Children’s Day: May 5th) were sent from Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. Ishinomaki was greatly affected by the catastrophic earthquake in 2011, and it was their sympathetic gesture to support the children saddened by the calamity.
On May 4th, the tent village set up in Mashiki-machi Athletic Complex Park was struck by the strong wind. The tents were mended and reinforced by the relief personnel from BERT, Kobe-based emergency relief team working closely with AMDA. BERT, whose strength lies in utilizing motor bikes, has been actively engaged in a wide range of assistance, swiftly fulfilling the needs that arise on the spot.
As of May 4th, AMDA has so far dispatched 55 personnel: 10 doctors, 17 nurses, three pharmacists, four care workers, two physiotherapists, 12 coordinators and nine acupuncturists.