Between August 15th and 19th, 2011, eight 5th-year medical students from the Keio University School of Medicine had the opportunity to visit the Peking University School of Medicine and hold a discussion session titled "What is the most effective way to educate people for survival in an acute disaster situation (before the mental health care stage)?" During the session, we discussed the following six points: basic information regarding the Sichuan Earthquake and the East Japan Earthquake, differences in preparedness for earthquakes, government actions, acceptance of medical rescue teams, earthquake induced secondary effects, and media restrictions. Although comparison of the two earthquakes was not simple, we concluded that three major points should be emphasized to facilitate the most effective course of disaster planning and action. First, all relevant agencies should formulate emergency plans and should supply information regarding the emergency to the general public and health professionals on a normal basis. Second, each citizen should be educated and trained in how to minimize the risks from earthquake-induced secondary effects. Finally, the central government should establish a single headquarters responsible for command, control, and coordination during a natural disaster emergency and should centralize all powers in this single authority. We hope this discussion may be of some use in future natural disasters in China, Japan, and worldwide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas