On the afternoon of March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by a magnitude 9 earthquake. The monstrous quake caused a tsunami and nuclear meltdown that claimed more than 18,000 lives, with ripple effects felt the world over. Three years later, approximately 300 tons of radioactive water was still leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Saiichi Nuclear Power Plant, contaminating fish and other marine life important to the Japanese food supply (Oskin, 2013, August).
One of the reasons this disaster has and continues to affect so many lives is the lack of preparedness associated with it. The earthquake largely took scientists and health professionals by surprise. James Goff, a tsunami geologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted, “What has now happened as a result of the 2011 earthquake is a growing recognition of the incredible value of an understanding of tsunami geology” (Oskin, 2013, March). This disaster affected more than just the physical geology of Japan, however. It also affected the health of inhabitants indefinitely. Just as scientists are deeply concerned with preparedness, public health administrators and other professionals must also be well-versed in disaster preparedness.
This week, you explore various public health responsibilities, tasks, and terms and concepts related to disaster preparedness. You also develop a strategy and leadership plan, which is your Final Project.