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FIVE YEARS AFTER: Asahi survey: 70% of evacuees report declined health since 3/11

Almost 70 percent of 3/11 evacuees that answered an Asahi Shimbun questionnaire said their health had worsened since the triple disasters struck five years ago.

Comparing their current health to before the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters, 23 percent of respondents said it had worsened greatly, while 46 percent said it had worsened somewhat.

One 67-year-old man living in temporary housing in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, wrote: “I cannot use a chair because the temporary housing unit is so cramped. The condition of my knees has worsened because I have to sit on the floor for a long time.”

Questionnaires were sent out to 944 evacuees from the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in February and responses were received from 619. While all respondents in 2012 were evacuees living in temporary housing, some have since moved back home.

Respondents also showed signs of psychological stresses in their responses to a question with the option to give multiple responses.

Forty-eight percent said they had experienced an increase in the concerns they felt, 37 percent said they felt down or lonely, 28 percent said they were more irritated and 25 percent said they had difficulty sleeping.

Only 22 percent said they were in a calmful state unchanged from before the disasters.

A 55-year-old woman who runs her own business and lives in an apartment in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, said: “Whenever I see tsunami footage, I remember relatives who died and I become lonelier. I am also worried because I have no idea when I will be able to rebuild my home.”

A 77-year-old woman who was evacuated from Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, to Aizu-Misato, also in the prefecture, said: “My life changed completely because of the nuclear accident, and I tend to feel more down. I also feel psychological uncertainty because I still do not have a settled residence.”

The respondents were also asked to list up to three policies they wanted the central and local governments to prioritize.

The most popular response for the second consecutive year was “subsidies for medical expenses” at 43 percent.

Other frequent responses were “improving elderly care services and rebuilding or expanding social welfare facilities” at 30 percent and “subsidies for monthly living expenses” at 28 percent.

The second most popular response last year was “financial support to rebuild own home.” This year that response came in fourth with 24 percent of respondents choosing it.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201603220001

March 24, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , ,

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