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AmeriCares Emergency Airlift of Medical Supplies Arrives in Japan to Aid Disaster Survivors

  • April 4, 2011

AmeriCares emergency airlift of medical aid arrived in Tokyo on Monday, April 4.  The relief shipment, sent from AmeriCares warehouse in Connecticut at the invitation of the Japanese government, is headed north for distribution to help survivors of the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. 

Containing over 17 tons of medicines, medical supplies and hygiene items, the shipment, valued at more than $525,000 will be received by AmeriCares partner, the Tohoku University Hospital.  AmeriCares relief workers on the ground will help unload over 4,000 cases of critical aid for use in 14 separate areas by 60 medical teams caring for patients in regional hospitals and evacuation shelters. 

With over 161,000 people still living in evacuation centers more than three weeks after the massive earthquake and tsunami, and thousands more who have nowhere to go and are living in their cars, the humanitarian condition in Japan is still dire.  According the World Health Organization, more than half of the hospitals located in the hardest hit cities of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures have reached full capacity and are unable to accept new patients, and 33 hospitals are unable to accept any patients at all due to lack of resources and staff.   

AmeriCares Emergency
Air Shipment

  • Antibiotics to treat 519 adults and children with acute bacterial infections
  • 630 course treatments of IV solutions
  • Pain medicines to treat 480 people for one month
  • 2,000 course treatments of anesthetics
  • Sutures for as many as 2,510 procedures
  • 859,458 units of bandages and wound dressings
  • 11,460 masks
  • 18,812 syringes
  • An assortment of gloves, soap, hygiene kits, and flashlights

The AmeriCares airlift includes more than 850,000 units of bandages and wound dressings, enough anesthetics to treat 2,000 patients and sutures for 2,500 procedures, plus antibiotics for acute bacterial infections, IV solutions, pain relievers, masks, syringes, gloves and hygiene kits.

The Tohoku University Hospital, located in Sendai—the largest city closest to the impact zone of the tsunami—is a leading academic and clinical hospital in Japan and has been assisting regional hospitals and evacuation centers since the March 11 disaster.  The AmeriCares delivery will help replenish the hospital’s depleted stocks and support medical assistance provided to nearby health facilities and shelters in the devastated northeast region.

This air shipment follows AmeriCares first relief convoy of hygiene items distributed less than a week ago with our partner to shelters in the heavily damaged towns of Watari, Yamamoto and Iwanuma in the Miyagi prefecture. 

One of the more than 2000 shelters temporarily housing some 175,000 people. Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images.

Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

One of the more than 2000 shelters temporarily housing some 175,000 people.

The AmeriCares team began mobilizing within hours of the first reports of the dual disasters on March 11, dispatching an emergency response manager to Tokyo to direct the efforts of our relief workers in Sendai, the largest city closest to the impact zone.  As we expand our team in anticipation of a continuing distribution of humanitarian aid in the coming months, we are in direct contact with local officials, evacuation shelters and hospitals treating the injured and caring for evacuees in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate to determine health needs. 

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