Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center’s Activities
Based on experiences and lessons learned from JRCS’s relief activities in Fukushima Prefecture during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET) and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident (Fukushima Daiichi accident), the Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center (NDRC) was established in October 2013. The purpose of the NDRC is collecting information on nuclear disaster preparedness and response and sharing the information. At the same time of the establishment, the NDRC Digital Archives (Digital Archives) was launched in order to share the collected information through the Internet.
Timeline of NDRC’s activities
Activities performed by the NDRC from its establishment until now are chronologically summarized by each year. For more on the activities, please click on each year below.
The NDRC was established in October 2013 in the JRCS National Headquarters. At the same time, the JRCS started sharing information on nuclear disasters via the Digital Archives. At this time, about 500 pieces of content were archived. Also, two special webpages were published to introduce the relief activities conducted by the JRCS right after the outset of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. In December 2013, the First Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar was held to share information on nuclear disasters with related parties inside/outside the JRCS.
“JRCS Nuclear Disaster Guidelines for Preparedness, Response and Recovery” (Guidelines) started to be developed on a full scale. To reflect knowledge and views collected internally and externally on the Guidelines, a committee with external specialists was established to discuss the Guidelines.
At the same time, the JRCS began creating arrangements for nuclear disaster preparedness. As part of the efforts, the JRCS gathered related medical personnel from Japanese Red Cross hospitals designated as radiation emergency hospitals to a meeting dedicated to exchanging their opinions. The JRCS also started providing “JRCS Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training Session” for JRCS relief team members.
Furthermore, an international meeting was co-hosted with the the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and held in Fukushima. The meeting was joined by the IFRC and National Societies. By hosting and organizing this meeting, the JRCS made an international contribution in the field of nuclear disaster preparedness.
For the Digital Archives, “Information Portal on Nuclear Disaster”, which is a list of links to websites and webpages run by other organizations, was released and the smartphone and tablet versions began to be offered.
The development of the Guidelines was completed in March. The Guidelines were informed to related personnel within the JRCS and also published via the Digital Archives. Over the course of developing the Guidelines, some challenges that need to continue to be considered emerged. The JRCS will continue to discuss these challenges at “Meeting of Radiation Emergency Medical Care Advisors.”
On the sidelines of the IFRC General Assembly held in December 2015, the JRCS hosted a side event for nuclear emergency preparedness. During this event, the JRCS’s efforts and the outcome were presented to the National Societies.
For the Digital Archives, the JRCS focused on sharing information about nuclear disaster preparedness and published special webpages on its nuclear disaster guidelines and efforts for nuclear disaster preparedness.
This year marked the 5th anniversary of the GEJET. On the Digital Archive, the recovery assistance programs by the JRCS Fukushima Chapter were introduced in a special webpage including how the programs were started, the challenges and the program details. Another special webpage was also published to present the efforts for nuclear disaster preparedness that the JRCS has made so far.
In March 2016, the Fourth Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar was held. At this seminar, the participants tried to explore possible challenges in their communities by referring to the status quo of Fukushima Prefecture and the current issues facing the prefecture. They discussed what they could do for the future.
Over the past two years, JRCS Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training Session was held at the JRCS National Headquarters several times. Following the actual training program provided during the two years, the trainings were held in each of six JRCS blocks across Japan from FY 2016. Regarding alliances with the IFRC, the JRCS participated in the 3rd Asia Pacific National Societies Disaster Management Conference and a workshop on preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events, where we presented the JRCS initiatives for nuclear disaster preparedness and response.
Same as in 2016, the Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training has been provided separately by each block, dividing the country into 6 geographical blocks. From FY2017 onwards, the training is scheduled as a 2-day activity, considering the travel time of the participants and for enhancing the program contents, which has allowed them to add new lectures, such as those about nuclear disaster preparedness and nuclear disaster medical response systems of the prefectures housing a nuclear power plant(s), to the former curriculum.
Meanwhile, the Meeting of Radiation Emergency Medical Care (REMC) Advisors was held twice in 2017, in July and December, to deliberate further the nuclear disaster response of the Japanese Red Cross. Through discussion at the REMC advisor meetings, a booklet, “Communication with Affected People during a Nuclear Disaster”, which had been contemplated since 2016, was finalized and distributed to all the parties concerned.
In November, a memorandum on metadata linkage was signed with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.
The Nuclear Disaster Resource Center published on its digital archive a review report on the CHARP (Chernobyl Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation Programme) produced by the IFRC, presented as a special webpage. The report provides evaluation and analysis of the humanitarian activities of the Red Cross spanning 22 years addressing the victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident.
Subsequently, a special webpage, “Health Interview Survey and Health Assistance for People Evacuated from Namie Town to Iwaki City”, was made available, featuring the 4.5-year activities that were carried out from October 2012 through March 2017.
In addition, to make this website more user-friendly, “a header and navigation menu” were added for enhancing usability of the NDRC Digital Archives.
In February, the Japanese Red Cross Society held the “Partnership Meeting on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2018” to share with the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies the lessons and challenges that emerged in the JRCS’ post-disaster activities over the past 7 years. In November, there had been some changes to the JRCS internal guidance documents including the “Nuclear Disaster Guidelines for Preparedness, Response and Recovery” and the “Manual for Relief Activities under Nuclear Disasters”, and as part of the change described above, the former “Radiation Emergency Medical Care Advisors” has been renamed to “Nuclear Emergency Medical Care Advisors”. The Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training and the Meeting of Nuclear Emergency Medical Care Advisors have continued to be scheduled separately for the purpose of developing radiation experts who play an important role in responding to a nuclear disaster.
Meanwhile, the report, “Health Interview Survey and Health Assistance Project for People Evacuated from Namie Town to Iwaki City” was updated with additional activities and survey results of the 4th and 5th terms. The updated report is now available on the Digital Archives.
The Japanese Red Cross Society held the Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training Sessions for the 3rd block at Shizuoka Chapter in June, and for the 5th block at Ehime Chapter in November.
The Meeting of Nuclear Emergency Medical Care Advisors have continued to be scheduled on July and December for the purpose of exchanging opinions to prepare for the JRCS's future internal arrangements to respond to nuclear disasters, etc.
For the 8th anniversary since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident occurred, we summarized and released the Recovery assistance programs by JRCS Fukushima Chapter.
The Japanese Red Cross Society held the Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training Session for the 6th block at the Karatsu Red Cross Hospital in January.
The Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training session for the 1st block (Tokai and Hokuriku) planned for March was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19 infection.
After that, the Nuclear Disaster Response Basic Training sessions for the 2nd block (Kanto and Koshinetsu) and 4th block (Kinki) planned for June and November, and the 1st and 2nd Meetings of Nuclear Emergency Medical Care Advisors planned for July and December were canceled due to the same reason.