United Nations agencies are rushing assistance to Japan to help cope with the multi-front disaster caused by last week’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant breakdown.
The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has already sent emergency equipment to areas severely affected by the tsunami, noting that re-establishing communications is a “critical tool” to ensure timely support for victims and rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the immediate aftermath of a disaster in which more than 5,000 people died, nearly 9,000 others are missing, and vast swathes of coast and infrastructure were overwhelmed by massive waves. Among material already deployed are 78 Thuraya satellite phones equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to facilitate search and rescue efforts, along with 13 Iridium satellite phones and 37 Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals.
On the technology front, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observes the situation in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.The IAEA is now receiving radiation dose measures from 47 Japanese cities. In Tokyo there has been no significant change since yesterday and the measures remain well below danger levels for human health. The IAEA is also in contact with the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has activated its Environmental Emergency Response mechanism and is monitoring the direction of winds and any potential path.
UN-backed Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization (CTBTO) spokesperson Annika Thunborg said the data has been sent to the body’s 182 Member States and 1,200 scientific institutions. She told the UN News Centre that the monitors pick up the direction of any plume, rather than the amount of radiation.
As to immediate relief for the thousands of survivors who have now spent six freezing nights, many without heating, water or sanitation, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is deploying experts in logistics and supply chain management to help facilitate swift movement of needed supplies.
Meanwhile, a joint contingent comprising a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and a United States Disaster Assistance Response Team flew from Tokyo on US military helicopters today for an on-site assessment of the stricken areas.
Published by: Logistic Week on March 18, 2011