Cholera fear adds to Kobe's misery

More than 300,000 people made homeless in Kobe by the Great Hanshin Earthquake are facing the danger of a cholera outbreak. Eight days after the quake, running water has not been restored, and many of the shelters lack even chemical lavatories.

Doctors warned yesterday that conditions posed a serious risk to debilitated refugees, especially the elderly.

At camps exposed to the wind, the homeless huddle in tents around camping stoves, but at indoor refuges heating is not allowed for fear of more fires.

Sixty medical teams, including 156 doctors, 204 nurses and ancillary staff, are reported to have arrived in Kobe from all over Japan, but according to NHK television last night, only 40 out of Kobe's 594 temporary shelters have been visited so far by doctors.

An NHK survey of doctors in Kobe found 70 per cent complaining of "insufficient" medical services.

Signs of malnutrition were also spotted, and after battling round the clock for eight days to cope with the nearly 27,000 injured, Kobe hospital personnel were at breaking point with doctors and nurses collapsing from lack of sleep.

People are in shock, said a city official. "They don't feel like eating. And some are not sleeping because of the fear of aftershocks."

The Earthquake Prediction Council has said a big aftershock of about six on the open-ended Richter scale could soon hit the devastated area. Kobe has been hit by more than 1,000 lesser aftershocks since the quake.

There is also a flu epidemic, a Kobe health official said. The Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama, told parliament yesterday the government was stepping up frantic efforts to get flu medicine to the area. "Influenza is prevailing over the refugees."

"We are doing all we can to get medicine in," Mr Murayama said.

Although electric power is back on, much of Kobe remains without gas and water. "It will take two to three months for us to fully restore the water supply," said Koji Nagase, who is responsible for the restoration of water mains.

The horrors of the earthquake had a massive psychological impact on survivors, with people falling "into a stupor after losing families and homes," said Isamu Kuramitsu, a clinical psychologist at Osaka University. "This is a symptom similar to what we call war-phobia."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower