Humanitarian Health Action

FAQs: Japan tsunami concerns

21 March 2011

Is it safe to consume food and water in the area that has been affected by the tsunami?

Food and water become unsafe if they become contaminated for some reason such as disrupted sewage systems or leakage from damaged industrial plants. If people do not have access to safe water (bottled or safe piped) and are not defecating in appropriate toilets or if there are insufficient hygiene facilities to wash hands, water and food can also become contaminated. Emergency workers and local authorities can give advice on the suitability of local food and water for consumption or recommend how they can be made safer.