Following the devastating events in Japan last month, AOTA President Florence Clark offered these sentiments:
"As the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami continue to unfold, I want to offer my heartfelt concern to the people of Japan, their families, and their communities. I also want to share how AOTA has responded.
Within hours, AOTA's delegate to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Sue Coppola, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, and former WFOT delegate Mary Evert, MBA, OTR/L, FAOTA, ScD (hon), had joined other WFOT members in contacting the Japanese Association of Occupational Therapists (JAOT) to offer support and assistance."
Dr. Clark also shared excerpts from the response of JAOT delegate Noriko Tomioka, OTR, PhD to WFOT.
"Thank you very much for your condolence and thoughtful considerations for our tragic disaster. We all the Japanese are in a shocked state to face the biggest disaster we ever had. However, the Japanese government and every concerned local communities are trying to save the lives of the victims and suffer days and nights with many urgent assistance from abroad.
"Luckily the Central and Western parts of Japan are quite safe with minimum or no damage. So, the headquarters of the JAOT is OK and we started an ad-hoc disaster management committee. So far we have confirmed the safety of two executives living in the devastated area. However we have to wait for the recovery of communication tools to confirm the safety of members of the JAOT living and working in those areas.
"The Yokohama area, venue for WFOT Congress in 2014, is OK with minimum damage. In fact, the Yokohama Pacifico Hall and related facilities are used for urgent overnight shelters for the people who are unable to find transportation to go home, since every transportation will stop to check the safety..
"However, we Japanese will have a confidence in our endeavor to overcome our hardship even it takes a long time. To live in beautiful Japanese landscape means to live with natural disaster now and then. I cannot be absolutely sure, since no one can tell the future for sure, but I can assure you that the WFOT 2014 Congress will be held in Yokohama as it is planned by Team Japan and due things are being processed so far.
"I believe that the biggest help that you can do for our recovery is to come to Japan with your friends and family in 2014."