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HHS Response to 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster


The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.
-- President Obama


The hearts of employees throughout the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services remain with the people of Japan at this tragic time. HHS stands ready to provide public health and medical support to the government of Japan.

HHS provides public health and medical personnel and medical equipment and supplies to augment the state and local response and to assist with long-term recovery efforts. At the request of another nation overwhelmed by a disaster, HHS may provide disaster response support internationally as well. HHS did so most recently after the earthquake in Haiti.

HHS divisions are coordinating with partners from federal and state government agencies to address public concern within the United States about any release of radiation from the damaged nuclear power plants in Japan reaching the U.S. coast. Although at this time no public health risks are expected in the United States, some West Coast states are monitoring air quality as a precaution.

U.S. Government Response Information (USA.gov)

U.S. Government Response Information en español (GobiernoUSA.gov)

HHS Resources and General Information

All Embassy Updates (U.S. Embassy - Tokyo)

Read the latest situation report on HHS activities (PHE.gov)

Information for Travelers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Resources to help cope with a traumatic event (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Get information for individuals and families, and emergency responders

Psychological first aid for first responders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Find materials for responding effectively to the general public during and after a disaster and in dealing with workplace stress. Also includes materials for the general public.

Hand Hygiene after a Disaster (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Find information that will help to ensure good hygiene and handwashing in the event of an emergency.

Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Search list of health and safety topics related to actions you can take during disasters and when returning home following disasters, including cleanup, animals and insect hazards, and illness.

Returning home after a disaster (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Read tips on keeping safe when returning home following a disaster.

Food Safety in an Emergency (FoodSafety.gov)
Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency, such as a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power.

West Coast and Alaska Preparedness and Pacific Tsunami
Find resources on federal monitoring, preparedness and response activities.

Information and Resources for Army Civilians for the Ongoing Situation in Japan (US Army)

Radiation Health Safety

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Tragedies in Japan, Effects on U.S. Food Imports (USDA)

Questions about radiation safety regarding food and medical products (FDA)
Read questions and answers about measures to protect food imports and medical product safety.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a meeting on the NRC response to the ongoing event in Japan, on Monday, March 21, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., EDT. The agenda, slides, and webcast are at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/tr/2011/.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission status report (Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
Get the latest status report on the federal response to assist Japan.

Radiation and Potassium Iodide (KI) Fact Sheet (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Get basic information about radiation and KI, what KI is used for, how KI works, medical conditions that may make it harmful to take KI, and when to take KI. At this time, CDC does not recommend that people in the United States take Potassium Iodide (KI) or iodine supplements in response to the nuclear power plant explosions in Japan.

Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS): a fact sheet for the public (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Learn about radiation sickness and its symptoms.

Radiation and pregnancy: a fact sheet for the public (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Understand the possible health effects to your fetus from exposure to radiation.

Radiation emergencies information (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Find information to help people protect themselves during and after a radiological event.

Radiation Emergencies: Protecting yourself and your family (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Read about actions people can take to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their pets if a radiation emergency occurs.

Worker information: Radiation dispersal from Japan (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Find information for workers in the transportation, delivery, maritime, and nuclear power plant industries in the U.S. and for workers in Japan.

Radiation Protection (Environmental Protection Agency)
Learn about radiation monitoring, sources of radiation exposure, radiation doses, and common power plant radioactive materials.

Japan Nuclear Concerns (World Health Organization)
Read answers to frequent questions about the risk of radiation-related health problems, ionizing radiation, human exposure to ionizing radiation, health effects, and public health actions.  Get the latest situation report from WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office.

Earthquake Health Safety

Earthquake food and water concerns (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Find how to purify water, sources of safe water in your home, what food is safe to use and how to prepare it.

What do I do after an earthquake?  (American Red Cross)

Tsunami Health Safety

Health effects of tsunamis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Learn about the immediate and secondary health concerns following a tsunami.

Food safety after a tsunami (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Get tips on feeding infants, keeping foods cold, thawed food, and opened and unopened food containers.

Water quality after a tsunami (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Find what you need to know about water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene, disinfecting cisterns and other water collection systems, and disinfecting wells.

Sanitation and hygiene after a tsunami (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Learn how to practice good hygiene during and after the emergency.