Friday, March 18, 2011

First week of Japan disaster

The following is a statement from the Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee:

The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) HQ station JA1RL and other amateur radio stations are maintaining the effort to support disaster relief operation which is being captured by audio and vision.

IARU Region 3 Secretary, Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP said in less damaged areas, the power supply is being restored gradually and local amateur radio club members have started to establish stations at shelters either on HF, VHF or UHF bands.

Ken Yamamoto said, “The radio amateurs in the affected areas are also making use of UHF repeaters for communications between shelters and local disaster relief centres.

“According to reports from the shelters, they are generally shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and medical goods. This is mainly due to difficulty of transportation because of road situation and staff shortage.”

He said JA1RL continues to operate under instruction to be an emergency traffic centre. Using the 7 MHz, 144 MHz and 430 MHz bands it is receiving help from JARL members in the affected areas.

Field stations are using various frequencies, including some battery powered and others using small generators. Each is exchanging rescue and disaster relief operation information with JA1RL and others.

While 3525, 7030, 7043 and 7075 have been mentioned as in use, it's wise to keep those, and all of the Centre of Emergency frequencies clear of normal and non-urgent traffic. There is no call for additional foreign radio amateurs.

Ken JA1CJP notes that JARL has received many e-mail messages from radio amateur radio societies and individual hams of many nations and territories in all six continents.

“These messages convey their condolences, sympathies and prayers for the people in Japan. JARL appreciates them very much and is encouraged by them,” he said.

“I have also picked up some update information from news sources. The situation is getting worse. On March 17, police announced 5,178 people have been killed and 8,913 are missing. The numbers are sharply rising as most affected areas become accessible by search and rescue teams,” he said.

The teams are from Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, USA, Germany, Switzerland and Russia.

The status of Fukushima nuclear plant is still serious and local residents within 20km radius have been evacuated.

It has been a week since the 8.9 on the Richter scale quake, the worst in 140 years, hit off Sendai triggering a ten-metre tsunami.

Statements issued by Vertex Standard Yaesu said its centre at Fukushima was currently out of action, while Icom and Kenwood are located elsewhere and not suffered the same outage. No reports have been received from other manufacturers at this time.

Jim Linton, VK3PC

Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee
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