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Transfus Apher Sci. 2016 Oct;55(2):177-183. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2016.09.009. Epub 2016 Sep 13.

Transfusion under triple threat: Lessons from Japan's 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

Author information

1
Department of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Hikarigaoka 1, Fukushima City, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan. Electronic address: nollet@fmu.ac.jp.
2
Department of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation Immunology, Fukushima Medical University, Hikarigaoka 1, Fukushima City, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan.

Abstract

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 provoked tsunami waves with inland penetration up to 5 km and run-up heights to 40 m. More than 400 km2 were flooded, mainly along the northeast coast of Japan's largest island, Honshu. Nearly 20,000 human lives were abruptly taken by this natural disaster. Four coastal nuclear facilities went into automatic shutdown; at one, Fukushima Daiichi, cooling system failures resulted in the meltdown of three reactor cores, accompanied by explosive release of radioisotopes. Essentials of modern blood banking and transfusion medicine were lost: roads, vehicles, blood collection venues, and facilities for blood testing and processing. Normal channels of communication were interrupted, not only by physical damage but also due to circuit overload as mobile phone users sought information and tried to exchange messages about their own and others' health, welfare, and whereabouts. The Japanese Red Cross, as a monopoly supplier of allogeneic blood, responded with a nationally coordinated effort that met the transfusion demands of a disaster characterized by immediate mass fatality rather than mass injury. Japan's routine transfusion demands are also met by hospital-based autologous blood programs, which could be pressed into service for emergency allogeneic collections. Herein we report institutional and personal experience in anticipation of future disasters, in which transfusion needs might differ from routine demand.

KEYWORDS:

3.11; Disaster response; Great East Japan Earthquake; Tohoku

PMID:
27646984
DOI:
10.1016/j.transci.2016.09.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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