Elderly account for 70% of victims of floods in west Japan


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No surprising seeing the aging society as a whole, and considering the locations the floods happened there are fewer young people as they have left to find work in Tokyo or Osaka.

Better get used to reading articles like this folks, it's going to continue.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

These poor people - what a terrible, frightening way to die. This is surely the kind of thing that all those meeting to iron out such details should cover - how the authorities have to help the elderly and infirm during disasters?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Poor O-basan and O-jisan, there should be more young family around to help them.

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In in any case, I think it’s no surprise that the elderly account for the majority of the dead. As for smart phone use, I think that might help more get the information that they need to evacuate, but there would still be many unable to do so. In casual observation as I go about my usual routines, I’m seeing more and more older folks using smart phones but this is a fairly sophisticated small city. I suspect it might be less so in more rural areas.

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"Elderly residents who did not have smartphones might have had difficulty understanding the situation and not been able to escape in time," she said.

So, people who are over 60 should be able to use technology that’s less than 20 years old? Many of the oldies I know can’t even use a TV remote, better less a smart phone.

A 67-year-old housewife in the district said the evacuation order announced through outside loudspeakers was difficult to hear

This is quite easy to believe considering most seniors have decreased hearing.

These people were let down by their local municipalities. They knew the floods and heavy rains were coming. Obviously, relying on smart phone alerts and announcements on public speakers were insufficient to get people out of their houses. All these municipalities have those annoyingly loud vehicles with huge speakers on the roof to campaign for their elections. These same vehicles should have driving around the streets screaming at people to get the heck out of their homes. It’s a pretty poor effort to have so many people killed by floods in a so-called ‘modern’ country.

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-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Unfortunately, the elderly make up probably 70 per cent of victims of pretty much everything. It’s the way of the world, and we’re all getting closer to that perilous time of life....

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A 67-year-old housewife in the district said the evacuation order announced through outside loudspeakers was difficult to hear

Do the hustle, “This is quite easy to believe considering most seniors have decreased hearing.”

It’s not just hearing ability. When the rain is roaring down on the roof it can be impossible to hear the announcements or to understand what they are saying. This is a problem that has been known from experience in past disasters.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

heard a large number of young volunteers also succumbed.

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"Elderly account for 70% of victims of floods in west Japan"

Hell, over 70% of the people in my rural city are old timers. This doesn't surprise me a bit.

I can totally relate to the old lady who said she had a hard time hearing what the loudspeaker was saying. I nor my Japanese wife can barely hear anything of what they're saying and ours is just outside our house. There's a huge echo with the next nearest speaker and it's almost impossible to hear what's being said. This was similar to what happened in the last three places I've lived in Japan.

One other thing that make people reticent to evacuate is that there are so many warnings coming through. In the last 10 years we've pretty much ignored all the warnings to prepare to evacuate and so far nothing has happened. Almost everyone around here has become immune to the countless warnings. During a typical summer-fall typhoon season we get anywhere from 50-100 warnings blaring through our smartphones. Just this past storm last week, I received over 30 warnings and alerts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm pretty sure most communities in Japan are divided into ku and kumi with community organisations at those levels and established lines of communication. We have the phone number of everyone in our kumi and a list of who is supposed to call whom. On that Thursday, we got a phone call from the responsible person in our kumi telling us to not allow our son to walk to school via the normal route, which uses a bridge over a river that had swollen. This is in a community that is nowhere near an evacuation order.

I don't know how the message got out in various communities but strongly doubt that it would be just one or two easily missed announcements over loudspeakers. That is not how Japanese communities operate. I think the problem was an inability to understand the difference between confusing terminology like chui-hou and a tokubetsu kei-hou and, as Speed says, a general fatigue due to a background of frequent low-level warnings that people ignore.

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I know that from the results of disasters change the politics mind. So, is this current govt. changed? Unfortunately, I only hear them in the Diet speaking their policy items to be approved. Only short condolence words and no real intention to help that can be from their pockets or any charity amongst them to relieve something people suffering at the disaster locations. The companies, the communities, the volunteer groups, NGO, NPO, do and why not the politicians...

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@zichi - Both myself and my wife are three score and ten and have no problem using technology and often have to show our students how better use their smart phones which my wife also has no problem using.

Yeah, so you can use a smart phone. Good for you! However, you are not the average Japanese countryside retiree, are you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

elderly Japanese make up 70% of the number of anything here. It's a real problem. As their demands increase so do our taxes and inconveniences ,etc etc. there really needs to be massive complexes that can cater for the elderly, but on a cheap scale. THat way they can get along without bothering the rest of us

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

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