Japan:80% of survivors feel mental and physical strains
Laaska News May 11,2011
An NHK survey shows that nearly 80 percent of the survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami are suffering sleeplessness, tiredness or other forms of mental or physical disorders.
NHK interviewed 435 people, aged 17 to 88, in the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
Asked about their mental and physical conditions after the disaster, 77 percent of respondents said they are having some kind of difficulty.
44 percent of them cited sleeplessness, 33 percent oversensitivity to sounds and tremors, and 31 percent tiredness or listlessness.
Many of the respondents said they are stressed by the uncertain outlook on jobs and housing.
A 62-year-old evacuee in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, complaining of insomnia and headache, said he feels depressed when thinking about the future, including where he will live.
35 percent said their stress is relieved when they talk with family and friends, while 17 percent said nothing helps them feel better.
Evacuees from Fukushima to other prefectures suffer most, with 83 percent saying they feel unfit. 20 percent of them said their suffering is never eased.
A disaster psychologist, Professor Emeritus Hirotada Hirose at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, said the unprecedented multiple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis combined have caused survivors’ concerns to intensify.
He called for survivors to talk together about their experiences and concerns for the future, as well as for professional help for them.