HHS forms medical support team for disaster-stricken Japan

The Department of Health and Human Services has geared up to provide public health and medical assistance to Japan, Hawaii and states along the West Coast if needed in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the agency announced Friday.

The agency assembled the Disaster Medical Assistance Team, which includes more than 35 healthcare professionals, an advanced logistics team, an incident response coordination team and hoards of medical equipment and supplies. The team is stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California, and is ready to assist Japan in its response to the earthquake and tsunami that have destroyed the country.

Although no requests for federal assistance from U.S. states or territories have been made as of yet, the HHS is prepared to offer support. "Additional HHS teams are on alert, ready to deploy if needed to provide emergency medical care, staff medical shelters, augment community hospital staff and provide veterinary care," the agency said.

In addition, a USAID Disaster Assistance Response team is already in Japan, according to the Los Angeles Times. USAID sent out two urban search-and-rescue squads, each with about 72 workers, dogs and 75 tons of rescue equipment.

For information on all federal tsunami resources, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- here's the HHS announcement
- read the Lost Angeles Times article