Just weeks have passed since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan – the fifth worst recorded in world history. Today, the official death toll exceeded 11,000, with numbers of the still missing and unaccounted for exceeding 16,000. Those missing were likely swept out to sea, so American military forces are assisting in the search for bodies offshore. Not only is the ensuing disaster surrounding local nuclear power plants uncontained and ill-defined, its impact on the future lives of Japanese remains totally undetermined. Those who haven’t already had their homes destroyed have been temporarily relocated with the others as far away as 50 miles from where they had been living. Farmers are being instructed to throw out crops and not replant until further notified, for fear of food being contaminated by radioactive elements released from the power plants. Photos and videos of the physical devastation are unbelievable. While there is virtually no limit to the list of losses and therefore needs of the Japanese people directly affected in this region – beginning with uncontaminated water, power, and warm shelter – the immediate list extends to medical supplies for those with a variety of conditions and illnesses. The obvious is access to medications or emergency surgery especially for injuries sustained during the earthquake or flood waters. The less obvious is medical products and devices for those with chronic diseases or circumstances, such as people with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries or SCI disorders.
Specifically, the National Association For Continence (NAFC) has been alerted to an emergency relief effort being organized by the Japan Continence Society (JCAS) because the following kinds of supplies are needed urgently: urinary catheters for daily self-catheterization, urine drainage bags for indwelling catheters, indwelling urinary catheters, prepackaged disposable enema solutions, laxatives, portable toilets, and disposable nonwoven adult absorbents. Should supplies internal to the country run short, NAFC has pledged to contact U.S. manufacturers of these products to secure donated supplies for the stricken areas of Japan through their distributors. In early April, JCAS will be in northeast Japan setting up relief centers to get such supplies to individuals so desperate for help in their personal, daily bladder and bowel management at a time when the normal outlets are destroyed or non-functioning.
Additionally, we are working at NAFC to help JCAS connect with CNN to be identified as a legitimate relief outpost in need of donations to underwrite their outreach to earthquake and tsunami victims, many uprooted from their homes and from their local outposts for supplies. We have advised them to established a PayPal account to receive donations from individuals online by credit card, NAFC will post this information on our web site home page latest news.
Regardless of your religious faith or personal, moral code in life, all of us as citizens of the world are called to lovingly minister to the needy. This calling is without borders. Stay in touch via nafc.org or send any questions or comments you have to us in this international appeal.
Thanks for caring about continence. Thanks for connecting the globe over with those facing the very same, daily concerns as you. Thanks for your consideration and generosity.
Nancy Muller, Executive Director
National Association For Continence