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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 20 - 26  > JCP Kumamoto & civil groups work to prevent ‘economy class syndrome’
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2016 April 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Kumamoto & civil groups work to prevent ‘economy class syndrome’

April 20, 2016
In Kumamoto Prefecture where aftershocks are continuing, many local residents are staying in their cars, fearing the collapse of their houses. Local members of the Japanese Communist Party and civic groups are working together to prevent evacuees from developing thromboembolism.

Mashiki Town in Kumamoto has a large exhibition hall, Grandmesse Kumamoto. Since a violent tremor struck the town on April 14, the hall’s two-thousand-car parking lot has been full every night. The number of those staying in their private cars has reached several thousand, including the elderly and small children.

On the morning of April 18, a 51-year-old woman was found lying on the ground beside her vehicle there. She was taken to hospital by ambulance and was soon confirmed dead. The cause of her death was pulmonary thromboembolism, so-called economy class syndrome.

As aftershocks continue in the region, with the help of JCP local assemblypersons, doctors and nurses of the Kumamoto prefectural chapter of the Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) are offering health counselling by visiting evacuees at emergency shelters and in their cars.

A 73-year-old man, who has been staying in his own car in the parking lot for four consecutive days, said, “My car is small so I cannot straighten my knees when sleeping. My legs are swollen and numb.”

The Min-iren staff members said in response, “If you sometimes just turn your ankles, it will help ease your symptoms.” They then went from car to car, distributing flyers explaining measures to prevent economy class syndrome.
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