Content » Vol 44, Issue 5

Original report

How did rehabilitation professionals act when faced with the Great East Japan earthquake and disaster? Descriptive epidemiology of disability and an interim report of the relief activities of the ten Rehabilitation-Related Organizations

Meigen Liu, Masahiro Kohzuki, Akinori Hamamura, Makoto Ishikawa, Masami Saitoh, Masaki Kurihara, Kazuto Handa, Haruki Nakamura, Junichi Fukaura, Ryuji Kimura, Takao Ito, Nobuou Matsuzaka
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0957

Abstract

Objective: Inter-organizational coordination is important for rehabilitation disaster relief. The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Disaster was unprecedented, being geographically widespread and multifaceted. Faced with the crisis, rehabilitation professionals established the 10 Rehabilitation-Related Organizations of Rehabilitation Support Service (10-RRO). The objectives of this paper are to provide descriptive epidemiology and assess the activities of 10-RRO.
Design: Descriptive.
Methods: Epidemiological data on disability were collected, mainly from official sources. Relief activities were reviewed from daily reports, and the preparedness, initial response and functioning of 10-RRO were assessed with a questionnaire directed at 36 executives of individual organizations.
Results: The disaster was characterized by a very low ratio of injuries to death of 0.372, and an odds ratio of deaths among disabled persons of 2.32. 10-RRO provided relief activities at 3 shelters. The total number of dispatch days ranged from 107 to 146, and the cumulative number of professionals and evacuees served was 1,202 and 7,300, respectively. Support activities included prevention of immobilization, daily life support, environmental improvement and transition to temporary housing. The questionnaire survey revealed poor preparedness, satisfactory initial response and support activities, and problems of data collection and advocacy.
Conclusion: The disaster was characterized by minimal trauma and a great need for preventing immobilization. This first collaborative endeavour was successful.

Lay Abstract

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