Communication with Affected People during a Nuclear Disaster – Japanese Red Cross – 2017

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET) triggered the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident (Fukushima Daiichi accident) in 2011, radioactive materials were released into the air and the sea. This forced the residents to evacuate from the surrounding areas of the power plant. In addition, accurate information about the accident was not shared and various opinions on the effects of radiation on humans spread. Under this situation, many of the affected people became more worried and fearful that they may be exposed to radiation and had a hard time mentally and physically for a long time.

In the case of a nuclear disaster, the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) is expected to conduct relief activities under such unusual circumstances, different from natural and other disasters. Therefore, the JRCS relief teams, which do not have the expertise of medical care for radiation exposure, are also expected to respond to questions from the affected people and give advice to them regarding the accident and radiation. Moreover, in some situations, the relief teams may have difficulties communicating with the affected people who are anxious and fearful of radiation exposure.

For this reason, the JRCS created a booklet titled “Communication with Affected People during a Nuclear Disaster,” so that relief teams can communicate more appropriately with the affected people and provide the support that they need when a nuclear disaster occurs. It contains basic points such as the system of relief activities in the case of such a disaster, the psychological state of the affected people, and policies on communication with each person with sample dialogs. These are based on reflections from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Since this booklet provides just sample responses, relief teams need to respond flexibly to each situation if a nuclear disaster occurs.

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