Japan: Relief Tweets for Refugee Parents

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

As the situation at the nuclear plant Fukushima Daiichi [en] remains unstable and the government warns about the high levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in vegetables and tap water, infants’ parents seek reassurance and advice from experts and fellow parents on the internet.

By miyakowasureLC. Copyright free.

Once again Twitter revealed to be the fastest communication tool that some have been using to discourage alarmism and false information.
A user named panache_chocola warned about the confusion drawn by some companies that use inexact wordings in their commercials.

@panache_chocola ミルク業者がミネラルウォーター使うなって言うのはとても語弊がある。正しくは硬水使うな、でしょ。みんな勘違いするってば。硬度120未満OKなんだから。日本製の市販の水は大概OKでしょうに。調乳水メーカーの策略としか思えない。 http://bit.ly/hxW2Na

@panache_chocola Its misleading for milk companies to say ‘don’t use mineral water’. It’s more like don’t use hard water right? People are going to get the wrong idea. It’s ok as long as the water’s hardness is below 120. Most of the water made in Japan should be okay. Seems to me like tactics of formulated milk companies http://bit.ly/hxW2Na

In order to keep radiation fear under control, experts like the members of the team of radiotherapy at the Tokyo University hospital created a Twitter account to keep readers posted with updated information on the effects of contaminated food.

国 際放射線防護委員会の勧告は、CTなど医療で使用する放射線による、短時間での被ばくを想定したものもの です。原発から放出される放射線のように、長時間かけてゆっくり被ばくした場合には、被ばく中にDNAの回復が起きるため、短時間での被ばくよりもはるか に影響が出にくいことも知られています

team_nakagawa Advice given by the International Commission on Radiological Protection is based upon the assumption of short term exposure to radiation used in things like CT scans. If exposed to radiation emitted from nuclear plants over a long period of time, it is known to have far less effects, as the DNA recovers.

したがって、現状では、少なくとも避難地域や屋内退避地域以外であれば、胎児への影響はまず心配しなくてよ いでしょう。ただし、みなさんご存知のように、自然被ばく(原発事故がなくても、私たちが宇宙や大地や食料から受けている放射線)のレベルでも、奇形や小 児発がんは、皆無ではありません。

team_nakagawa Therefore at the moment, there is no need to worry about its effects to the fetus for areas outside the evacuation zone/areas ordered to stay indoors. However as you all know, probability of deformity and infant cancer is not zero from natural exposure levels (even without the nuclear accident, we are exposed to radiation from the universe, earth, and food)


team_nakagawa We've found some information about the methods used to measure the radiation of spinach which I would like to share: the results of radiation levels measured in the spinach so far were obtained from spinach that had been washed with water.

On his blog, engineering professor Takeda at Chubu University explained how slightly high levels of iodine 131 and cesium 137 in tap water doesn't affect babies as long as they don't drink it.


The baby will be exposed to radiation from the tap water during bathing, but the human skin is to an extent resistant to radiation. Drinking the water would be 10 times stronger.

By miyakowasureLC. Copyright free.

While experts dispense 140-word-long advices, mummies and daddies in the afflicted areas rely on the blue bird to exchange survival methods to adopt in the evacuation centers, using hashtags like #babyhinan (or #babyrefugee).
Usako818, for example, explains how easy is to make baby food with few ingredients.

紙コップやコンビにでもらえるようなデザートスプーン(プラスチックのもの)があれば、ごはんや薄味のせんべいにお湯を足してぐちゃぐちゃにして即席離乳食のでき上がりです。被災地では簡易容器が不足しているとのこと。どうか子供の命をつないであげてください!! #babyhinan

usako818 By using a paper cup or plastic desert spoons (ones you can find at the convenience store), you can soak rice or lightly flavored rice crackers to make instant baby food! There is a shortage of simple containers at disaster stricken areas. Please help to save the children!! #babyrefugee

While a mother links to a trustworthy source where breastfeeding in times of disaster is explained in details…

完ミママがもらい乳する時の注意点など、かなり詳しく記載されています #babyhinan 「被災時の貰い乳について。」

nyamisuke Points to watch out for when feeding other mothers’ breast milk is described in detail here #babyrefugee ‘Feeding other mother’s breast milk in times of disaster’

… another one illustrates how to make a diaper in case of emergency.

bachiriko災害時のオムツ:1.生理用の夜用ナプキンや介護用の尿取りパットで代用 2.ビニール袋にタオルを入れてはかせて、ラップで固定。又はタオルを股間に巻き付けて軽く何かで固定しラップ、ビニール袋などで保護。残り一枚でもあれば、タオルを入れておく。⁰(被災者体験談)#babyhinan

bachiriko Diapers at times of disaster: 1. substitute with sanitary napkins or incontinence pads 2. put towel into a plastic bag and keep in place using cling film. Alternatively wrap a towel around the groin and lightly affix with something, then protect with cling film or plastic bag. If there is even one diaper left, use it by layering it with a towel. (victim’s experience) #babyrefugee

Finally, babytweets help spread messages of hope among connected parents.


YourBabyJP_bot it’s okay mummy, there there, don’t worry. Feeling better? Even if the lights go out and the ground shakes, I won’t be scared if mummy is okay. Let’s be strong!


YourBabyJP_bot Even babies who can only cry at first will grow up to be able to run around and jump, so just watch mummy, surely Japan’s recovery will be the same.
Many thanks to Rino Yamamoto for translating these tweets.

This post is part of our special coverage Japan Earthquake 2011.

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