Ionizing radiation

WHO response to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant accident

WHO SHOC during response to Fukushima accident in March 2011
WHO/Chris Black
  • On March 11, 2011, the Japanese National Focal Point for the International Health Regulations (IHR) informed WHO about the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan earthquake followed by a tsunami.
  • Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) activated its’ emergency response procedure. The Radiation Programme at WHO's Headquarters provided technical support to WPRO and served as liaison with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is in charge of coordinating the international response to nuclear emergencies.
  • In accordance with its Constitution and the International Health Regulations, WHO is mandated to assess public health risks and provide technical consultation and assistance in public health emergencies, including nuclear accidents. In doing so, WHO is working with relevant UN agencies through the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE).
  • WHO's response was supported by the Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network (REMPAN), a global expert network comprising more than 40 specialized institutions in radiation emergency medicine.
  • WHO worked closely with FAO and the INFOSAN network to ensure that global community would receive the best authoritative advice on the matters related to the radioactive contamination and food consumption and trade. See the joint WHO and FAO statement on food safety issued on 23 March 2011 – shortly after the accident
  • WHO provided travel advice and information on potential radiation risks for human health to its members states, public and the media.

Updates during early response in March 2011