Japan is an aging nation, with one in four people over 65. And as the search-and-rescue effort continues after the earthquake and tsunami, it's becoming clear that older residents were hit especially hard, reports AP. Many had no way of escaping the waves that shredded homes and tossed cars around like matchboxes, even with advance warning. Older survivors who escaped the initial dangers can't get medicine and face electricity blackouts at hospitals.
"Some don't remember what they were taking, how much, and what was the exact prescription," said the director of the Japanese arm of Doctors Without Borders. "So that makes things a little more complicated." At impromptu shelters, problems with heating and power have led to widespread cases of hypothermia, dehydration, and respiratory diseases among the elderly. "The country should find a way to help support them," said one younger survivor.