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東日本大震災翻訳プロジェクト〔第6話〕

  • English
  • 日本語

We need to prepare for earthquake disaster

KOMATSU Kyoko, 56, Chief of visiting nurse station Palette, Uchigotsuzuramachi, Iwaki city
Translated by KIKUCHI Hanae

 I’m the representative of a visiting nurse station located in Uchigo. It is a small office with only 3 staffs. We were visiting users to provide nursing care when the quake occurred. After making sure that the users were safe, each one of us went back to the office. As mobile phone did not work well, it took several days to visit and check the users. At that time, we told them that regular visit would be difficult due to the gasoline shortage. As living alone became so difficult, some users had evacuated to distant places, some were admitted into nursing homes, and some were hospitalized.

 Since all the staff except me had young children, they had temporarily evacuated out of city. For 8 days from March 15, I was a sole nurse for visiting users. I could visit only those with higher medical dependency and living alone.

 Immediately after the earthquake disaster, many users were holding uneasy feelings. I often could not visit them on time, and could not tell them so on telephone. Then, they reproached me with such words, “Why you did not come on time?” They told me so out of anxiety; internal medicine for the day was not available, or one’s habitual drugstore was close. Having only a few antibiotics, a user was thrown into a panic. Due to lack of gasoline, they could not go anywhere. In each case, somehow our staff could deliver the medicines to them.

 Since water supply was cut off for all the houses of users, we drew water from a well at this station, and brought it to them. Without support from home-care workers, some users living alone had tough time; one had to spend a long time without heating, shivering in cold, because he could not put kerosene into the stove. Another user had nothing to eat.

 When a meeting of visiting nurse stations in Iwaki was held, I got to know reality of other stations. There were nurses whose houses were swept away by tsunami, and they had to stay at the stations. Dead body was drifted to one’s storage. No less than 11 cars were carried away from a nursing station in Nakoso.

 I had learned many things through this disaster. Most important thing is that every station must be responsible for preparing disaster manual and goods. And all the nurse stations must communicate each other and share disaster manual. It is also important to share the information of pharmacies and hospitals which are open.

 If the local administration sets up a consultation service for home care, it will be quite useful for visiting nurses. I think it is necessary to construct a system for cooperation of all the professions related to home care.

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