This morning, I just received more up-to-date info about the radiation levels in Japan and the extent of impact on food and people in other countries.
Here is a brief summary of this info.
- “Potassium iodide (KI) is only needed when there is a large amount of radioactive iodine in the environment.
- At this time, the Government of Canada does not advise using the medication (KI).
- KI will be available from local health authorities in Japan if the need arises.
- Information currently available indicates that there is no significant risk from radioactive contamination in the Japanese food supply.
- No agricultural products are being shipped from the affected areas near Fukushima.
- As an extra precaution, Canadians in Japan are encouraged, for the time being, to be diligent in choosing foods produced and manufactured in other regions less impacted by the current disaster.
- The situation in Japan is not expected to pose any health or safety risk to Canada.”
- Reuters reported about 2 hours ago that according to Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Fukushima reactors are showing some improvement but the situation remains uncertain.
- Reuters reported that the health ministry of Japan “also said in a statement that radiation levels exceeded safety standards in Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki prefecture. It said it had prohibited the sale of raw milk from Fukushima prefecture.”
- AFP reported that “authorities in Taiwan checking food imports for radiation on Sunday found a shipment of fava beans from southern Japan had been very slightly contaminated. It is the first report of contaminated food being found outside Japan since the crisis at a nuclear power plant. The beans will be destroyed.”
From Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada:
Canada’s response to the earthquake in Japan
On March 11, 2011, a powerful 9.0 earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan and a series of significant aftershocks have already struck the same area.
Government of Canada Officials in Ottawa and at our Embassy in Tokyo are closely monitoring the situation and are working closely with local authorities to identify and locate Canadians in need of assistance. Embassy staff are providing consular assistance where required.
DFAIT continues to advise against non-essential travel to Tokyo, its surrounding areas and northern Honshu. We also advise against all travel within 80 km of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Please consult the complete travel report.
Japanese authorities recommend that individuals refrain from travelling to Japan for humanitarian purposes unless requested by the Government of Japan.
Last Updated: March 19, 2011 19:13 EDT
Still Valid: March 20, 2011 11:02 EDT
Originally Posted: March 17, 2011 19:08 EDT
Following consultations with Government of Canada experts, and based on information available from the Government of Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Canada has assessed that at this stage there is no indication that there is a radiation health risk to Canadian citizens in Japan and other countries in Asia.
There is no radiation health risk to Canadians travelling into or out of Japan, provided they have not been within the evacuation zone established by Japan.
Given the evolving situation, Canadians located within 80 km of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant should consider, as a further precautionary measure, evacuating this area. The directions of the Japanese government and local emergency response personnel should also be followed by all Canadians in Japan.
Based on current information, areas outside the Japanese evacuation zone are not subject to radiation levels associated with a health risk. Health risks exist within the Japanese evacuation zone; therefore, all Canadians are advised to follow the direction given by the Japanese authorities and should not enter these areas.
(Please consult the Regional Warning for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and surrounding areas.)
Potassium iodide (KI) is only needed when there is a large amount of radioactive iodine in the environment. At this time, the Government of Canada does not advise using the medication. KI will be available from local health authorities in Japan if the need arises. Government of Canada offices abroad are not in a position to provide medicine or medical treatment to Canadian citizens who have chosen to travel or reside outside of Canada, but will provide information to Canadians to help them obtain medical services available locally.
Information currently available indicates that there is no significant risk from radioactive contamination in the Japanese food supply. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are in regular contact with Japanese food safety authorities and will continue to provide information to Canadians as the situation evolves.
Japanese Food Safety authorities have put in place monitoring programs to identify any foods with increased levels of radioactive contamination. They have also confirmed that at this stage, no agricultural products are being shipped from the affected areas near Fukushima. As an extra precaution, Canadians in Japan are encouraged, for the time being, to be diligent in choosing foods produced and manufactured in other regions less impacted by the current disaster.
Canadians in Japan should continue to follow the advice of local authorities, including recommendations regarding food consumption and protective measures such as taking KI.
The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo’s web site offers local information and resources for Canadians in Japan, such as shelter locations and announcements from the government of Japan.
17 March 2011 – 25,000 thermal blankets provided Govt. of Canada and Canadian Red Cross arrive in Tokyo, Japan
In response to a first request by the Government of Japan, Canada, working with the Canadian Red Cross, has provided over 25,000 woven thermal wool blankets from its emergency relief supply stockpile.
Canada is also offering to Japan an array of expertise and technical assistance as part of international efforts to help Japan respond to and recover from the devastating earthquake.
These include a 17-member Disaster Victim Identification team, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear technical expertise and equipment. Canada is offering Canadian Forces assets – including strategic airlift and personnel – to facilitate humanitarian relief efforts in addition to relief stocks, and emergency medical and engineering capabilities.
Canadians often feel strongly about helping to support communities affected by this tragic natural disaster. Often the best way to help is to donate money to experienced humanitarian organizations that are raising money to support relief efforts or that are active in the emergency response.
- Other ways Canadians can help
- How can Canadian companies help?
- How the Government of Canada responds to natural disasters abroad – FAQs
There are currently 13 Canadian federal departments and agencies collaborating within Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Task Force on Natural Disasters Abroad.
The Government of Canada is also working in close coordination with provincial and territorial authorities and stands ready to respond to other specific requests for assistance.
Canadians in Japan – 81-3-5412-6200 or (collect) 613-944-2471
Canadians in Canada – 613-944-2471 or 1-800-606-5499
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