Support Activities of the Sunstar Group for the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake in Japan

11 May 2016

Our thoughts are with everyone who was affected by the recent earthquakes in Kumamoto and other areas in Kyushu.

Providing poster PDF data on “oral care in the wake of a disaster” to be displayed at evacuation shelters

After learning various lessons from prior major catastrophes in Japan, Sunstar began actively communicating information on oral care in the wake of disasters. A major earthquake can destroy large numbers of houses and buildings and leave a vast number of people―sometimes tens of thousands―without homes. Local schools and their gymnasiums become temporary shelters, and many people spend several weeks or months there together. These shelters are often short of water, and space for washrooms is limited, which discourages people from brushing their teeth or caring for their dentures. Many will see their oral hygiene condition worsen. In the aftermath of major disasters in the past, many of the elderly, who were weaker and less resistant to illnesses died of aspiration pneumonia.

In Kumamoto, as we delivered emergency relief oral care goods, we were reminded by dental hygienists and other professionals in the disaster areas of the great need for awareness-building regarding oral hygiene in evacuation shelters. Responding to this local need and in conjunction with an expert in the field, Professor Ryohei Adachi (Department of Dental Health, Faculty of Junior College, Kobe Tokiwa University), we created a poster explaining how evacuees can practice oral care under such circumstances. This poster was then uploaded onto our website as a printable PDF on April 22, so that it could be displayed at evacuation shelters.

■Poster PDF data of oral care in a disaster for printing (Japanese)

■Educational information of oral care in a disaster (11 languages including English)

Realizing the usefulness of the poster, it was posted and made downloadable on the websites of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Japan Dental Association, and the Japanese Society for Disaster Public Health Dentistry. The poster is now being shared with local dental professionals, as well as disaster relief workers from outside the disaster areas, and is also being displayed in many other places.

Forty-thousand houses were damaged by the series of Kumamoto earthquake, and initially, about 190.000 people were in shelters. As of May 8, about 14.000 people are still there.

Provision of emergency relief goods

The Sunstar Group communicates with the local government and medical officials in Kumamoto and Oita to deliver emergency relief goods as needed.

To date, Sunstar has delivered the following disaster relief goods: 7.666 bottles of adult dental rinse, 840 bottles of dental rinse for children, 5.216 tubes of toothpaste, 11.256 adult toothbrushes, 5.400 toothbrushes for children, 2.000 toothbrushes for use with dentures, 144 denture holders, and 11.520 denture cleansing tablets.