Impact of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear hazard in northeastern Japan: Transcultural Mental Health Emergency Committee in JSTP
As you know, at 14:46 on March 11, 2011, a huge coastal area of northern and east Japan was attacked by a magnitude 9 earthquake, something no human being has experienced in the previous 1,000 years. Most coastal areas were attacked by a subsequent Tsunami that that apparently took 20,000 lives in an instant. The area suffered unbelievable damage. Atomic plants in Fukushima prefecture were badly damaged by the quake and tsunami and nuclear contamination has begun. All the people in north and east Japan are suffering from a shortage of electricity. This has caused enormous damage to our industries. Even Tokyo is unstable. Even psychiatrists like myself have been psychologically unstable. My patients are still fearful of earthquakes and even more fearful of nuclear contamination. They suffer from so-called quake sickness and situational anxiety disorders.
On March 30, I went to Soma city in Fukushima, an area that has suffered from both tsunami and nuclear contamination. Many people have had to be evacuated. All psychiatrists were evacuated and there are no psychiatric facilities functioning. 2,100 people are housed in transient shelters. They are facing hunger, cold, loss and fear of nuclear contamination; the situation there is a hell.
The Japanese Society of Transcultural Psychiatry(JSTP) has organized an emergency committee called Transcultural Mental Health Emergency Committee. This committee, working with the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN), will focus on support for foreign citizens who directly suffered or experienced psychological trauma from this disaster. They include Asians, Americans, Europeans, Hispanics, Oceanians, Africans and others. Even though they are not direct victims of disaster or sometimes live in safe areas, quite a few of them lack information in their mother tongue and feel very isolated and scared. We will try to provide them with the most appropriate information. We will also give consultation for supporters of the foreign sufferers. Although there are so many international rescue teams raising their hands to come to Japan, there are few good coordinators able to direct them to the most appropriate places. JSTP is thinking of assuming this task as well.
If you have a chance, please let people world know what JSTP and JSPN are doing and if some of your nationals staying in Japan are feeling isolated and afraid, let them know our society will be there to help. For this project, we need manpower and funding. We will do what we can to handled it ourselves but donations would be most appreciated.
For information on how to donate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
With warm regards,
Chair, Japanese Society of
Board of Directors, World Association of Cultural Psychiatry