Japanese medics who are working to help the victims of the Haiyan typhoon in Tacloban, the Philippines, have used for the first time in a disaster zone a high-tech equipment that helps them make wireless mobile X-rays using tablet computers.
The technology was developed in Japan especially to be used in disaster areas after the country was hit by a violent earthquake and tsunami in 2011. It allows doctors to take a look inside patients instantly, and even lets them enlarge the image with familiar iPad gestures.
“This is the first time that we are deploying it in a disaster situation,” said Joji Tomioka, coordinator of the Japan Medical Team for Disaster Relief at a medical clinic put up by Japan in Tacloban to help victims of the typhoon, which smashed the central Philippines on November 8.
The medical team sent by Japan to Tacloban includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, cardiologists and medical technicians. The outfit is able to provide medicine and carry out minor surgery.
Tomioka said Japanese medical experts are seeing about 200 patients a day as part of a large international aid effort to reach the estimated 13 million people affected by one of the most powerful storms ever recorded.
So far, 3,633 people were reported to have died after the violent storm hit the area, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in the Philippines.
Around 2.5 million people still “urgently” need food, the United States said on Saturday, according to the international press. “The Philippines helped us during our hour of need in the tsunami,” Tomioka said, referring to the disaster that hit Japan in 2011 and that killed around 18,000 people. “Now it is our turn to give back.”
Japan said Friday it was tripling its emergency aid package for the Philippines to more than $30 million, and was sending up to 1,000 troops to help with relief efforts.