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Issue In Focus
Response to Japan's Triple Disaster
On Friday, March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated parts of northern Japan. The most powerful quake ever recorded in Japan, this event triggered a tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Tohoku and southern Hokkaido. As a result of the massive scale earthquake with major urban destruction, number of tsunamis, and major disruption of nearby nuclear power plants, the citizens of northern Japan are experiencing a humanitarian crisis unforeseen in the history of modern Japan. While Japan’s earthquake and disaster preparedness capacity is the most sophisticated in the world, the magnitude of the disaster has created a situation that exposes several difficulties in the coordination of a response and the management of large populations displaced by the crisis.
FOR UPDATES ON JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF EFFORTS:
The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has a significant history of engagement with Japanese colleagues in the areas of emergency health and disaster systems development. In addition to the relief team (composed entirely of Japanese emergency medical experts) to the disaster site, HHI's ongoing Program on Humanitarian Effectiveness works to develop emergency medical education and leadership and hospital-based disaster response. These activities are documented in the report below.
While the Japanese engineering and civil preparedness is highly adapted to earthquake and tsunami preparedness, there is a lack of deep experience in management of hospital and medical resources for displaced populations. HHI is currently working with the Kobe Center for Health Development to enhance urban health assessment tools that can be adapted to urban disaster management. In addition, Harvard University is working in many settings with academics in Japan, and can be leveraged to support engagement into disaster recovery and future preparedness. HHI and many members of the Harvard community are committed to supporting the ongoing recovery efforts in Japan.
- Harvard for Japan, a cross-Harvard alliance created in response to the Great Tohoku Earthquake
- Harvard School of Public Health WebForum: Response to the Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Crisis in Japan
- News at HSPH: "In Wake of Japanese Earthquake, HSPH Experts Discuss Humanitarian Response, Radiation Risks"
- Harvard Gazette: "Harvard Rushes Aid to Japan"
For more in-depth information on the ongoing recovery efforts on the ground in Japan, visit HHI's Technical Assistance page.
PHOTO SLIDESHOW | HHI AFFILIATES ASSISTING IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE