Girl amongst tsunami survivors denied help for fear of radiation contamination
Summary of story from Daily Mail, April 13, 2011
An eight-year-old girl is among scores of people refused medical help or shelter in Japan because of fears that she may have been contaminated by radiation and could spread it to other so far healthy survivors.
People who have been made homeless due to the leakage of radiation at the Fukushima nuclear plant, 135 miles north of Tokyo, now have to be screened and given an ‘all clear’ certificate.
Without this certificate they are not allowed into evacuation centres for fear they may be a ‘hibakusha’ – a person contaminated by radiation.
The father of an eight year-old girl told reporters that a hospital had refused to treat her for a skin condition because she did not have the ‘all clear’ certificate.
And another woman said she and her family were denied a hotel room because she didn’t have a certificate.
But officials running evacuation centres said that anyone who had been living within 19 miles of the crippled Fukushima plant must produce this certificate to show they have not been contaminated by radiation.
One official said, “If they don’t have them, they will need to be screened at the site. It’s so that the rest of the evacuees can feel safe. It’s a matter of peace of mind.”
‘Although evacuees normally shouldn’t have to prove they have been screened in order to enter an evacuation centre, the situation is that there are some shelters that require them,’ said Kosuke Yamagishi, of the prefecture’s medical services division.
‘People are simply over-reacting and sadly this could lead to discrimination.
But, as he pointed out, ‘Unless they are plant workers, ordinary people aren’t dangerous.’