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  3. Messages from the Participants
Messages from the Participants

Messages from the Participants

Messages from the participants of National Societies across the world are posted. They mentioned the impression of Fukushima and comments on the meeting.

American Red Cross


American Red Cross

Armond Thomas Mascelli
Volunteer Consultant, International Services
American Red Cross

1. Impressions on Fukushima before and after the visit
 The on-site visit provided a direct “human face and feel” for the events, circumstances and conditions that had previously only been accessed through news media videos, presentations, written reports and studies.

2. What is the situation in your country regarding nuclear preparedness and what would be your National Society’s response?
 Based on the events of Fukushima, the government has revised its planning, preparedness and response considerations for nuclear power plant accidents. The Red Cross will continue its engagement in these activities as a long- standing participant in the government’s disaster preparedness and response actions.

3. General reflections on the Reference Group Meeting
 The reference group meeting agenda was very well developed and efficiently executed. My reflections center on three areas.

A. It provided opportunity for the on-site view of the affected area along with informative briefings by both government and Japanese Red Cross officials engaged in the initial response, and ongoing recovery and mitigation efforts. This “real world exposure” clearly demonstrated the complicated and long-term implications of nuclear and radiological emergencies.

B. The reference group session presentations and discussions (formal and informal), provided ample opportunity to learn about, understand and appreciate the diversity among nations with respect to nuclear technology and the role of National Societies in planning for a responding to nuclear accidents. This placed a sharp focus on what the Federation could do in providing assistance and guidance to these and other National Societies.

C. The Japanese Red Cross was very open in reviewing major issues prompted by the Fukushima incident, and it was very generous in sharing not only its “lessons learned”, but also its strategy and concrete actions in preparing to deal with future nuclear and radiological emergencies. This is invaluable to both individual National Societies taking on the task of nuclear emergency preparedness and to the RC/RC Movement as a whole.

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Italian Red Cross


Italian Red Cross

Claudia Fontana
Supervisor, Department of Environmental Radioactivity
Central Laboratory, Italian Red Cross

1. Impressions on Fukushima before and after the visit
 Before coming to Fukushima I read many scientific articles, I attended national and international lectures and I was informed very well about the Fukushima accident. The Italian Red Cross after the accident monitored the environment radioactivity in Italy.
 My experience in Fukushima has been very positive. I had already felt the experience of Chernobyl where I visited the children of the pediatric hospital of Minsk and the affected population in the villages of the district of Gomel.
 The experience of Fukushima has enriched even further my knowledge in radiation protection. The contact and exchange with all the Experts in the field was an unforgettable experience. The visit to the Japanese Red Cross Hospital, the report of the Director confirmed how is important, in my opinion, to intervene in the first phase of the emergency and in particular in iodine prophylaxis to minimize the risks of possible cancerous thyroid diseases, especially in children. When we arrived in the contaminated territories, near the sea, where it swept the tsunami, I was impressed by the extent of the disaster, and the vastness of the contamination of affected Japanese people.

2. What is the situation in your country regarding nuclear preparedness and what would be your National Society’s response?
 Italy is a country nuclear-free following the referendum of 1987. In Italy there are still nuclear power plants. Some of these plants are going to decommission. Italy has stopped the program of the construction of new nuclear power plants but continues to collaborate with other European countries. The danger of possible nuclear catastrophe is in neighboring Countries no too far from our borders (France, Switzerland, Slovenia, etc.). All this justifies the presence of regional and national Laboratories of the National Network of Environmental Radioactivity Monitoring in Italy coordinated by the Higher Institute for the Protection and Environmental Research of the Ministry of Environment.
 Italian Red Cross (ItRC) is included in this Network, in respect of the basic principles governing the control and exchange of information on radioactivity in the environment, as part of the European Community countries, are reported in articles 35 and 36 of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy of March 25, 1957 (Euratom Treaty) establishing the commitment of each state to play permanently related monitoring and communicating the results to the Commission on a regular basis.
 In addition, the ItRC has running training for disaster preparedness, the decontamination procedures with experts and tools in CBRN Emergency Response.

3. General reflections on the Reference Group Meeting
 The meeting was very interesting and I would like to underline the fact that I really appreciated the content of the meeting and the Japanese Red Cross organization. After thirty years that I work in the field of Radiation Protection in ItRC, I am pleased to work with Red Cross "Reference Group Nuclear & Radiological Emergency preparedness with Experts who share my belief: it is possible that in the third millennium volunteers are not informed, trained and prepared risks arising from technological disasters, just as those of the RN, as instead they are for natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc.).
 It is very useful to exchange information with other SN that is the beginning of future collaborations. Italian Red Cross is involved in the Training Course for all the Movement Red Cross (Summer School).

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Malaysian Red Crescent Society


Malaysian Red Crescent Society

Saiful Izan Bin Nordin
Manager, International Humanitarian Law/Legal
Malaysian Red Crescent Society

1. Impressions on Fukushima before and after the visit
 The impact of watching the event that had occurred in Fukushima through the news was never as strong as seeing Fukushima with our own two eyes. At first, my impression of Fukushima had been of a small fishermen’s village which so happen has a nuclear power plant. Nonetheless, after visiting it, it occurred to me that it is a city just like any other city and it could have been one of the cities in Malaysia. Hence, the thought came to my mind that similar situation could have occurred in Malaysia and it could have been my family members who were among the victims. This would lead to the next question on whether the National Society, other humanitarian organisations and the relevant government authorities in my country or in any other countries, could have handled the entire situation as effectively as how it was handled in Japan. Thus, lessons must be learnt and we greatly appreciate the fact that the Japanese Red Cross Society and other relevant authorities in Fukushima are willing to share their valuable experiences with us during our visit.
 Seeing the temporary shelters that were built for the victims through the media was not the same as visiting the site during the cold winter. Through the media, one could see the standard home appliances such as the refrigerator and washing machine being fitted in each shelter. However, when we visited the site, the first thing that came to my mind was the size of each shelter. One could see how uncomfortable their lives must have been in occupying the temporary shelter for nearly four years and not being able to go back to their home.

2. What is the situation in your country regarding nuclear preparedness and what would be your National Society’s response?
 Malaysia is a country which does not own nuclear weapons or nuclear power reactors. Nonetheless, a nuclear power reactor may be built sometime in the near future. Thus, being an auxiliary to the government, it would be reasonable for the National Society to prepare for such eventualities such as nuclear power accidents.
 Although the drafting of the nuclear accident preparedness guidelines is still in its infancy, it is imperative for the Malaysian Red Crescent to participate and contribute in its drafting. As discussed during the reference group meeting, the idea is not to create experts in nuclear accidents but rather to expand the scope of the disaster team from within the National Societies to cover situation such as nuclear accidents.
 Such guidelines need to be as practicable as possible and once endorsed, it is hoped that it could be shared with others who are involved in nuclear accident preparedness from within Malaysia such as the National Security Council and the other relevant organisations.

3. General reflections on the Reference Group Meeting
 We feel very honoured to be invited to participate in the meeting. The Japanese Red Cross Society had done a tremendously good job in making the meeting a success. Special thanks to the Japanese Red Cross Society and all those involved in organizing the meeting. It was also beneficial that other external parties who are experts in this area were also invited. We hope that the contribution made by everyone during the meeting had sufficiently assisted in making the proposed draft guidelines of nuclear accident preparedness a reality.