Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Relief

haiyen1AMDA Canada is supporting AMDA International (Japan, Okayama) and AMDA Philippines in their relief efforts.  Victims need food, water and basic health care. One team is already in the Philippines and another being made ready (10th November 2013) AMDA Canada is being supported by Rose Charities who are able to give tax receipts for any donations above $20.  Please see the ROSE CHARITIES ON-LINE DONATION SITE  

Makenai-zou: The resolute Elephant !

Makenai-zou is the the small towel you see in the image. It is made by the survivors of the 2011 Japan Tohoku earthquake and tsunami as well as previous natural disasters, such as the Hanshin-Awaji 1995, and Niigata -Chuetsu earthquakes of 2004. “Makenai-zou” means “We will carry on” in Japanese. The Zou in the compound word also means Elephant, so it rounds out the pun and resolute, yet friendly, image of the elephant moving forwards, despite all.

AMDA Canada has obtained some of these Makenai-zou towels and they will be on sale at the upcoming fundraising Rutsuko Yamagishi Concert in Vancouver Cathedral on 25th April 2012

For ordering such towels please contact or see

Vancovuer Spring Cathedral Concert for Tohoku-Japan..

Vancouver is known for its cherry blossoms and late-April is when they get going ! Come and see them and come to our wonderful concert. Rutsuku Yamagishi is one of the worlds great pianists. One of Rutsukos beliefs is that performances should be live only – thus she rarely (if ever) will perform for recordings in studios..

Cards and goodwill from Children of Roy Stibbs School BC, to Shizukawa Elementary School children

Shizukawa Elemetary School Principle Mr Kai-ichi Kato and James Buttenheim – AMDA giving cards written by children of a school in B.C, Canada

I hope this message finds you in good spirits and with weather much less humid than here in Japan. My name is James Buttenheim, and I am an American college student working as an intern for AMDA this summer. I had the honor and privilege to personally deliver the letters from Roy Stibbs elementary school to the principal of Shizukawa elementary school.


I want to thank you for this kind, simple gesture to the Minamisanriku community. Since the school has just recently begun operating normally again and is now trying to make up for lost time, the principal, staff, and students find themselves extremely busy each day. Therefore, we were not able to see the cards distributed to the students. However, the principal was pleased to accept them, and I know these letters will brighten the students’ day when they receive them. Additionally, the sentiment will show the families of this community that the larger world community cares about and is with Japan during this trying time.


As you may or may not know, one of our upcoming events in August will be a week of soccer matches. Middle school soccer clubs from various towns in Tohoku will get the chance to meet their peers in Okayama and build new friendships. During this past week, among other things, we met with some of the middle school soccer clubs that will be joining us in Okayama.


After meeting Principal Kato, we traveled to Shizukawa middle school, and on Thursday we met the Otsuchi team. However, most of the week was dedicated to visiting various shelters and field hospitals and distributing medicine and new supplies. On Tuesday, while we were in Minamisanriku, Ms. Tae Namba, Ms. Tomoko Ohmasa and I met with doctors at the Shizukawa hospital.


On Wednesday, our team traveled to Daitokuin Temple and Otsuchi High School which are now doubling as shelters. At Otsuchi High School, we also met with a newly formed branch, AMDA’s Otsuchi club. High school students from this club will visit Okayama this month to meet AMDA’s Okayama club. On Thursday morning, Ms. Ohmasa and I visited a nursing home in Otsuchi and several other shelters to deliver the remaining supplies.

Tsunami relief:update 14th April 2011


After one month has passed since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit north-east Japan, people in the afflicted regions participated in a silent prayer on Apr. 11th. Even now, innumerable aftershocks are shaking the country which is causing the delay in the recovery of infrastructures and giving people high level of stress. Meanwhile, schools and hospitals are gradually getting back to normal with people making efforts towards it.

Iwate Prefecture (the town of Ohtsuchicho):

In order to uplift children’s mood, toys and stuffed animals of a popular Japanese cartoon character was donated in response to the call for help from AMDA’s pediatrician. The “Anpanman Program”, named after the character, was initiated in line with the ongoing mobile clinic services which provides recreation time for children besides medical treatments. While a number of stressed-related ailments are seen among patients, the program aims to take care of children’s mental health and put them at ease.

Other than the above, many patients complain of troubles with their eyes as they are exposed to the powder dust from the rubble. A nutritional program has also been implemented to improve the unbalanced diet of the evacuees and plans are underway to provide vitamin supplements as well.

Miyagi Pref. (the town of Minamisanriku-cho):

While mobile clinic services were delivered to Omori district in Minamisanriku-cho, the local Shizugawa Hospital has taken over the temporary prefabricated clinics from the Israeli medical team. The hospital has put its hands on resuming their regular operations and is expected to be normalized gradually.

Norovirus is still prevalent in Minamisanriku-cho, however, the preventive/hygiene measures implemented by AMDA have been effective in controlling the outbreak. From now on, hygiene awareness will be very important due to the arrival of a warmer season. There are 5 norovirus patients out of 360 evacuees at Shizugawa Elementary School.

After receiving the above report, AMDA sent relief goods such as vitamin supplements, dust-proof goggles and paper towels to both Iwate and Miyagi.

Latest dispatch of AMDA personnel:

23rd group: 1 acupuncture therapist, 1 nurse (Apr. 11th)

24th group: 2 doctors (including AMDA President) (Apr. 12th)

Total number of AMDA¡Çs relief personnel (as of Apr. 12th): 131

48 doctors, 27 nurses, 3 midwives, 2 assistant nurses, 3 pharmacists, 2 psychotherapists, 43 coordinators (including interpreters), 2 careworkers, 1 acupuncture therapist

AMDA Japan tsunami relief: update 9

AMDA Emergency Bulletin #9: Japan Earthquake

While aftershocks still continue in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, current cold weather (snowing in some areas) poses an extra burden on those who are withstanding the aftermath. However, a good news came from Kamaishi city (Iwate) that despite the lack of merchandise some of the convenience stores have started to resume services. Overall, the distribution of goods has been improving gradually.

On Mar. 24th, AMDA sent one coordinator to Minamisanriku-cho in Miyagi followed by additional dispatch of one coordinator to Iwate.

AMDA President, Dr. Shigeru Suganami, who returned from the disaster site on Mar. 21st will be rejoining the existing teams in Iwate accompanied by one doctor and one nurse.

On Mar. 25th, a truck loaded with medicines, sanitary goods and other aid supplies will leave for Kamaishi city and the town of Ohtsuchicho in Iwate responding to the inquiries from the local teams.

Iwate Prefecture (Kamaishi City and the town of Ohtsuchicho):

AMDA teams have been closely working together in four evacuation shelters, namely, Futaba Elementary School, Kamaishi City Gymnasium, Kamaishi Junior High School and Ohtsuchi High School. Thanks to the support from a pharmacy in Kamaishi city, the prescription and provision of medicines have been going much smoother than before. AMDA teams have been in touch with the local doctors on any matters pertaining to the handover of the activities, sharing the information on patients that are in need of continuous care.

AMDA has been handing out the copy of one’s clinical record to each patient for further convenience. It is also reported that medical teams will be sent from adjacent Aomori Pref. (north of Iwate) shortly, thus leading to the improvement of the local medical infrastructure.

Miyagi Prefecture (Minamisanriku-cho):

All of AMDA personnel were relocated to Minamisanriku-cho and have been working at Shizukawa Elementary School since Mar. 23rd. AMDA is mainly supporting a local doctor who had already been active in the area. In order to fulfill the needs at the smaller evacuation shelters where medical aid has been scarce, AMDA team is planning to deliver mobile clinic services.

Now that the road access to Minamisanriku-cho has recovered, the transportation of relief goods has been relatively stable. Food supplies have been somewhat well-off and medicines can be delivered within a few days of ordering.

Latest dispatch of AMDA personnel (as of Mar. 25th):

12th Team: two coordinators (one to Iwate and one to Miyagi) (Mar. 24th)

13th Team: two doctors (including AMDA President), one nurse (Mar. 25th)

The number of AMDA’s relief personnel thus far: 62

23 doctors, 10 nurses, 2 midwives, 1 assistant nurse, 2 pharmacists, 24 coordinators

AMDA Japan tsunami relief: update 8

AMDA Emergency Bulletin #8: Japan Earthquake

AMDA teams are ongoingly engaged in medical services both in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures. This report is on the activities in Kamaishi City and the town of Ohtsuchicho in Iwate Pref. as of Mar. 22nd.

Iwate Pref. (Kamaishi City and the town of Ohtsuchicho):

In the morning of Mar. 22nd, AMDA coordinators visited a local temple in Kamaishi City where remains of the victims have been placed. The coordinators gave thought to the matters pertaining to their funeral.

Later that day, the coordinators visited each of AMDA’s working locations in both Kamaishi City and Ohtsuchicho to assess the current developments of the teams’ relief activities. They also visited Akahama district to determine the extent of the disaster followed by the visit to the disaster headquarters set at Shiroyama Gymnasium in Ohtsuchicho.

As of now, including the loss of the town mayor and its civil servants, the municipality of Ohtsuchio has not yet recovered its administrative function. Hence, the staff from Iwate Prefectural Government, Kamaishi City Government and the Self-Defense Force have been present to back up the administration. On the same day, three coordinators and one nurse arrived to join the existing teams.

The developments around the evacuation centers are as follows:

Futaba Elementary School:

AMDA staff visited the office of a local medical association to discuss how to hand over AMDA’s current activities to a local doctor. Meanwhile, one pharmacy in Kamaishi City offered to deliver medicines per request in case the stock runs out.

Kamaishi City Gymnasium:

As most of the medicines provided here are generic ones, one of AMDA doctors requested pharmaceutical dictionaries for reference. The doctor reported that without having the dictionaries he had to use his mobile phone to check what the drugs are. Later on, the doctor managed to obtain the dictionaries through the doctors working elsewhere. Medical dictionaries of this sort are difficult to find locally and are only obtainable in Morioka City, the capital.

Kamaishi Junior High School:

One doctor and one midwife from AMDA have been making utmost efforts to meet the local needs. While the school is used for an evacuation shelter, many of its students were present on that day as their graduation ceremony was held.

Ohtsuchi High School:

There are several medical teams from universities working at the school; two doctors from Iwate Medical University are scheduled to work until Mar. 25th.; likewise, Gunma University’s medical team will be bringing in electrocardiogram and X-ray machines to work for two days from Mar. 23rd. While some of AMDA’s medical personnel continue to work at the school, two AMDA doctors will be delivering mobile clinic services (using electric vehicles) to the vicinity.

The report on the activities in Miyagi Prefecture (Sendai City and the town of Minamisanriku-cho) will be posted shortly.