A fisherman’s vest stuffed ready with essential emergency relief supplies would leave a mother with her arms free to carry infant and tot to safety. Clare Dudman recommends the Orvis Clearwater Vest

This list was taken from the Asaichi NHK TV programme, based on research of the needs of the women victims in the aftermath of the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear crisis. Here are the basic necessities they listed as most lacking and wanted in the interim period while awaiting arrival of evacuation help or disaster relief supplies and not usually included in commercially sold disaster kits:

After water at the top of the list (use jelly-sports drink packages)…

  • Underwear – tanktop, brassieres
  • Sanitary napkins (3 types)
  • Perfume water (keishoshui) – would have been helpful in easing the personal discomfort and distress of living in crowded conditions and often steamy summer conditions in evacuation centres
  • Deodorant
  • Wet wipes for baby bottoms (or for cleansing oneself)
  • Keitaibidet / handy mobile-bidets (these look like plastic milk bottles with extended feeder tubes) – for cleansing female parts
  • Stole for cold days
  • Warming ceam / all-in-one face cream / lipbalm – these basics help restore some sense of dignity and grace for women who have to wake up to a huge auditorium full of strangers
  • Hair-ties
  • Dry-shampoo-in
  • 45 l (white) garbage bags come in very handy and are multi-purpose. By just cutting a hole for the head and slipping it on, they can serve as raincoats or help keep to one warm for outdoor cookouts.
  • Old clean towels cut into rectangles are also useful in a multi-purpose way (can serve as makeshift sanitary napkins)
  • Mask
  • Handkerchief
  • Newspaper + furoshiki cloth and/garbage bag …can be improvised to make a makeshift pillow
  • Kitty litter in a ziplock bag for waste disposal

For longer term emergencies, it was suggested that powder milk in cans was not the best option because right after an emergency, without adequate water supplies, powder milk is useless. Therefore, canned ready milk formula is the better option for those with infants. (They can also be used instantly for cooking stews or soups if your kids outgrow the infant formula)

***Most useful tip: For the quickgetaway during the disaster, it was suggested that the best way to free the hands for women with infants or young children in tow was to:

-~ Buy and wear a fisherman’s vest – netted vest with lots of pockets. Stuff all the pockets with the necessities.

Careful packing of items in the pockets at the back as well as in front will fit more than you think

The vest will fit all of the following:

  • Portable radio
  • Light
  • First aid
  • Jelly-drink packs
  • Packet or pouch-foods
  • Torchlights
  • Snacks
  • Powder milk (for infants/younger children)
  • A few important ID and important documents such as health insurance card

* You could buy a vest for each adult~young adult member of the family