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News Link • Japan - Earthquake Tsunami Radiation

Mental Fallout from Japan Disaster Hits Elderly Hard


In the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, pictures and videos tell hundreds of tragic stories: A young man sobbing after learning his wife and child are dead; rescue workers combing through leveled towns, turning up many bodies and few survivors; gray-haired seniors, made homeless by the tsunami, sleeping in rows on shelter floors.

Everyone touched by the tsunami will face an uphill battle in coping with the devastation, psychologists say. But the elderly citizens of Japan are at particular risk.

"The elderly, the very young and the first responders are three of the most critical populations that we have to deal with in disaster response," said Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.


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