Clinic opens in fallout-hit Namie

JIJI

A makeshift clinic has opened in the town of Namie, becoming the first medical facility to offer service within 20 km of the meltdown-hit power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The clinic, which opened Thursday at the town hall, will take care of residents who are temporarily visiting their homes.

The ongoing realignment of Fukushima’s evacuation zones resulted in Namie’s no-go zone status being lifted last month. Evacuees from the coast, where 80 percent of its 20,000 residents lived before the nuclear crisis in March 2011, are now allowed to visit their homes in the daytime.

“Although infrastructure restoration is important, town residents cannot return home without anxiety unless a medical institution is back,” Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba said at the clinic’s opening ceremony. “I’m very happy to see the opening of the makeshift clinic.”

A doctor and a nurse will be at the clinic every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to treat mainly acute diseases such as heat stroke as well as injuries incurred during debris removal work.

Local authorities say that about 1,100 Namie residents visit their homes each day but had to be taken to hospitals in neighboring Minamisoma to be treated for disease or injuries until the clinic opened.