Japan Update 3/31: Death Toll Nears 11,500, Mental Health Concerns

Filed in Gather News Channel by on March 31, 2011 0 Comments

The death toll from the Great Quake-Tsunami in east Japan has increased by 185. As of 10:00 Thursday, the total dead numbered 11,417, with 16,361 listed as missing, 88 fewer than yesterday.  Unless the thousands missing from Miyagi who have not been reported by name are counted at some point, the number of missing will continue to decline as bodies are identified.  The total of dead and missing stands at 27,690.

News headlines are beginning to read “Japan’s Tsunami Survivors Begin to Dig Out,” “Japan Nuclear Refugees Feel ‘Betrayed'” and “Mental Health Concerns Mount as Japan Tsunami Realities Sink In.”  When there is no home to which one can return, when all one knows is gone, when all friends and relatives have been swept away, it takes a while to recognize the breadth of the disaster into which one has been thrown.  When the cause is a natural disaster, there is a tendency to recognize that and begin attempts to normalize life.  When it is government, or a major company that has promised no harm, that seems to have caused the devastation in one’s life, there is a tendency to great anger and feelings of betrayal.  The response is more likely to be that “someone fix this.”

When the death toll climbs above eleven thousand people, and the climb never seems to stop, people become inured, but they still watch the daily reports.  Eventually, the unremitting desolation and daily awakening to a lack of every basic necessity begin to wear upon even the most stoic of people… and that is happening in Japan today.

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