OCHA Flash Update - Japan | Kumamoto Earthquake - 21 April 2016

Situation Report
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Dear colleagues,

This is the last OCHA Flash Update on the Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan, unless unforeseen developments occur.

One week on from the first in the series of major earthquakes and aftershocks that have occurred in Kumamoto Prefecture since 14 April, the Government of Japan and supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, and private sector have reached all of the earthquake-affected prefectures – including the worst-hit communities of Mashiki-machi and Minamiaso-mura – with relief goods and services.

While local authorities and affected communities have deployed significant effort in the response, challenges in the distribution and replenishment of supplies continue to be reported, primarily due to lack of staff and an efficient system in the evacuation centres.

With frequent seismic activities and ongoing heavy rains affecting Kyushu Island, evacuation orders and advisories have been issued for high risk municipalities in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures.

As rescue and recovery efforts continue, the number of confirmed fatalities due to the earthquakes has increased to 48 people as of 7:30 a.m. local time (GMT+9) on 21 April. The Government also reported 10 deaths due to illness while living inside the evacuation centres.

With 5,500 homes partially or completely damaged, an estimated 93,000 people continue to shelter in 732 evacuation centres in Kumamoto, Oita, Fukuoka and Nagasaki prefectures. This is a decrease from the high of 112,100 people after the second earthquake on 16 April, with many people having returned to their homes where possible or gone to stay with relatives or friends in other areas. Earthquake-affected people living inside their cars and in open areas also require support.

With the significant damage to housing and infrastructure, it is expected that people may remain in temporary shelters for some time. Specialized assistance is required for those with chronic diseases, allergies, disabilities and the elderly, for which outreach efforts need urgently to be strengthened.

An increasing number of cases of ‘economy class syndrome,’ the formation of blood clots when not moving around, have been reported – most cases are due to people living in their vehicles. To address these problems and to avoid overcrowding and inconvenience in evacuation centres, the Government announced on 20 April that alternative accommodations have been secured in 1,500 lodging facilities as well as in public housing (for 2,000 households) and private rental housing (for 1,500 households). Large ferries will also be used as a temporary shelter solution.

In addition to the 900,000 meals that have been delivered in affected prefectures, the Government plans to send an additional 900,000 meals in the coming days. Hygiene items are also being provided by private sector organizations.

Fifty of the 71 medical facilities in the affected areas are fully operational, while 16 others are operating with difficulties due to lack of water and/or gas supply. Eight medical facilities are not operational due to structural damage leaving the building at risk of collapse. Over 190 medical teams, including 11 teams specializing in mental health services, are operating on the ground. Additional teams from other prefectures are being deployed or on standby.

In some of the heavily affected municipalities, including Mashiki-machi and Kumamoto City, disaster volunteer centres have been established to receive arriving individual volunteers and coordinate their work.

Restoration of basic infrastructure and services continues to progress. Electricity has essentially been restored in all hazard-free areas. However, 33,000 households in Kumamoto, Oita and Miyazaki are still without water and 97,000 households in Kumamato without gas. Nearly all gas stations and convenience stores have reopened.

Over 70 per cent of commercial flights have resumed at Kumamoto Airport, and the bullet train (Shinkansen) also resumed limited operations on 20 April, running between Kagoshima-Chuo and Shin-Minamata in the south of Kumamoto.

The Government released a total of 2.3 billion Japanese Yen (approximately US$ 21 million) from its contingent budget to support relief operations in the earthquake-affected areas.

To date, the Government of Japan has not requested international assistance, apart from the US military air transport assets that have been providing support since 18 April.

For more information, please visit the following websites: Prime Ministers’ Office – Sori Kantei (Japanese) Cabinet Office (Disaster Management) - Naikakufu (Bosai) (Japanese) Fire and Disaster Management Agency - Shobocho (Japanese) Kumamoto Prefecture (Japanese) Japanese Red Cross Society – Nihon Sekijyuji (Japanese) International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (English) Japan Platform (English)

You may also contact: Masaki Watabe, Head, OCHA Kobe, watabem@un.org, Mobile: +81-90-6018-9100 Kristen Knutson, Head, Regional Partnerships Unit, OCHA Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, knutson@un.org, Mobile: +66-8-1984-6896

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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