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A small but growing number of local governments in Japan have dispatched welfare specialists to shelters to help people needing assistance, including older people and children, in the aftermath of large-scale natural disasters.

Assembled through collaboration between prefectural governments and social welfare organizations, disaster welfare assistance teams, or DWATs, are tasked with preventing the conditions of displaced people in need of care from deteriorating during the extended periods they have to spend at evacuation centers and eliminating deaths indirectly related to calamities.

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