FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

99chap.IIFukushima Medical University Record of Activities [Notes and Messages]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Linehowever, with the mailing list, we were able to contact him and seek his guidance. He returned to Japan immediately, connecting to a temporary Haneda–Fukushima flight to return to the university. All areas of Fukushima were damaged from the disaster, but, of course, the most affected area was Hamadori, which suffered the effects of the tsunami. The Hamadori area is divided into the Soma area to the north, the Futaba area with the nuclear power plant, and the Iwaki area in the south. Since entry into the Futaba area was forbidden because of the nuclear power plant, we were not sure about the extent of damage there. I heard that in Iwaki, some doctors had reopened consultations in the midst of the effects of the disaster and water shortage. The Soma area was the first to report effects from the tsunami. However, roads and rail lines were cut off, and there was no gasoline, so we could not get information from there.Two weeks after the earthquake, Professor Iida first visited the Soma area. It was greatly damaged by the disaster, and we learned that all doctors had evacuated, so there were no ophthalmologists in the area. We began aid work for the disaster areas and evacuation centers together with the Fukushima Ophthalmologists Association. The university became a distribution center for aid supplies, and I was a liaison with the Ophthalmologists Association. As expected, there was an imbalance between the supplies provided and the demands of the disaster areas and evacuation centers, so I worked hard to coordinate these.Later, the aid work spread throughout the university and continues even today when things have gradually calmed down.Fukushima has many famous places to view cherry blossoms, such as Mt. Hanami in Fukushima City and the Takizakura tree in Miharu. It is currently the best season of the year, when the sprouting cherry leaflets cover the hillsides in verdant green. At first glance, it seems like we have returned to calm, normal lives, but Fukushima’s nuclear accident has still not come to a conclusion, and we have no relief yet. The radiation piles on top of our heads like a headdress that we cannot shake off. That we have come so far is the result of huge efforts of the professors and the curriculum’s doctors, nurses, and staff, not to mention the help from the families that supported their efforts. Not a single family in Fukushima was able to avoid the effects of this great earthquake. I am deeply thankful to all the families who, in spite of damaged houses and belongings and without power or water, sent doctors to our offices—especially those with small children with concerns about the radiation.The week after the earthquake, we received support from Senju Pharmaceutical Company and other major eye medicine manufacturers in Japan. We also received support from the Japan Ophthalmologists Association and many other related groups—from contact lenses and care products, eyeglasses and eyeglass cases, to drinking water. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those related parties. With everything damaged by this disaster, I realized deeply that normal medical operations are not just supported by physicians and medical staff but also by a variety of professionals in transport, water supply, electricity, logistics, manufacturing, and retail. I thank again all of those that support our work every day.Fukushima will suffer from the aftermath of this disaster for a long time. I am thankful to those who warmly look over us as we work together toward restoration.�(Personal Notes from May 10)