Reader Mail

Easing stress on disaster survivors

I found the editorial in the March 24 issue, “‘Indirect’ deaths from disasters,” interesting because while such deaths have been reported in the media, I didn’t realize how dire and serious this situation is. Indeed, makeshift shelters are a necessity during an emergency, but lack of privacy triggers a lot of stress that can lead to death, including suicide, as the worst scenario.

When emergency shelters have to be set up, they should be improved by listening directly to the people who have to use them.

However, asking the survivors individually would not be practical since it would take too much time. Instead, local authority representatives should gather evacuees’ thoughts and opinions and submit a summary to the central government. Then, the government would be able to provide aid in the disaster area more efficiently and appropriately.

In practice, Komeito local assembly members have passed along the thoughts of people living in temporary housing. Authorities were able to respond, for instance, by adjusting bathwater temperatures to make more residents comfortable. Also, a domestically produced liquid baby formula was released recently that mothers can use at room temperature in an emergency.

Such grassroots activities, though happening little by little, will help disaster victims. As a result, the number of deaths coming in the aftermath of emergencies will gradually decrease.

MIEKO OKABE
YOKOHAMA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.