Kumamoto Earthquake – Health Support Activities for the Elderly, Mothers and Children (Infants), and Others ~ Expanding Support to Maintain the Healthy Mind and Body

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People enjoy cool air by mist generators

Since June, the Japanese Red Cross Society has carried out health support activities for the elderly, people with disabilities, mothers and infants, and others affected by the Kumamoto earthquake and continue to live in evacuation centres. "Overseas donations" received from National RC/RC Societies and other organizations are being used to finance these activities, which are expected to be carried out until the end of July.

Following the disaster, there was special concern about the elderly and people with disabilities staying at evacuation centres as they might continue to be unable to sufficiently exercise their bodies, which may cause disuse syndrome or worsen chronic disease conditions. Red Cross Nurses involved in the health support activities thus visit the centres, where they talk to and monitor those people with weakened bodily functions.

In addition, not a few infants exhibit such behaviors as "won’t drink milk any more" and "fear separation from parents" due to earthquake anxiety. Following the disaster, routine health checks for infants were canceled by the affected municipalities and mothers expressed anxiety about the health of their infants. The Japanese Red Cross Society thus sent nurses to help restart the health checks. Nurses and members of the local Red Cross Volunteer Corps have also carried out exchange activities for mothers and children. Psychosocial care for mothers who bear an increased burden of child rearing after the earthquake is also being provided.

The health support activities also include improving the environment of the evacuation centres by delivering such summertime items as cooling down mist generators, cold eye masks, candies for preventing heat stroke, and insect repellent.

Chat and laughter in front of a mist generator.

Newsletter, July 2016 by JRCS