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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Japan: Foreign medics help victims, Road accidents increase, Looting reported

First the good news. Then the bad news.
The Japanese government allowed on Sunday the first foreign medical team to treat victims of the triple disasters—earthquake, tsunami and radiation—in the northeast seaside of the mainland Honshu that killed over 10,000 and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
Japan's law forbids holders of overseas medical licenses to practice medicine within the country but the health ministry lifted the prohibition three days after the disaster occurred on 11 March, The Japan Times said.
The 53-member Israeli medical team composed of 14 physicians, seven nurses and interpreters were allowed to treat patients in the disaster areas.
The team arrived at Narita airport on Sunday and will proceed to Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture—one of the hardest hit areas—to set up a field clinic and help Japanese doctors.
The foreign ministry said that it is more difficult to accept medical than rescue teams because they "require more coordination between governments and local municipalities."
Foreign medics must also rely on themselves and qualified interpreters are of utmost necessity to aid doctor-patient communication.
The government is considering accepting more medical teams.
An official said, "Locals will be very surprised if a foreign medical team arrived out of the blue.
"It is the same when a Japanese medical team goes abroad—there needs to be thorough coordination with the government, matching the needs of the people and the offers from abroad."
* * *
As a result of rotating power outages in several prefectures, the police announced Monday that there has been an increase in road accidents involving pedestrians and light car collisions, in a report by Japan Today.
The vehicular accidents happened where traffic lights were out and no patrol men regulated the traffic flow.
Between 14 and 17 March, of the 27 traffic accidents that were reported in Saitama Prefecture, 13 were pedestrians and one serious injury that happened during the scheduled blackout in Yoshino, Saitama City on 17 March.
In Shizuoka Prefecture, 16 accidents were likewise reported during the 42-hour power outage.
The rolling power cut is Japan's way of economizing energy after the disasters.
More police patrols had been suggested to curb the rising accident statistics. Police also advised motorists to drive more safely and slowly.
* * *
This rare incident may be the first reported case after the disaster struck.
Three 22-year-old men were arrested on Sunday for allegedly stealing an earthquake donation box from a convenience store in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan Todayreported.
The police said the three were caught by security cameras stealing the US$196 (16,000 yen)-containing box.
Watch the attached YouTube video showing the oncoming tsunami waves in Miyagi Prefecture.

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