FOURTEEN elderly patients have died after being transferred out of a hospital in the radiation zone near Japan’s troubled nuclear power plant.

A government official said two died in transit on Monday and another 12 while staying at a temporary shelter at a high school gym. The remaining patients were moved to other hospitals by Thursday morning.

Fukushima official Chuei Inamura said: “We simply did not have means to provide good care.”

The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s northeast last week is taking a particularly heavy toll on the elderly. Many perished. Survivors face hospitals without electricity or water and shortages of everything from medicine to incontinence pads.

Japan has one of the world’s most rapidly aging populations.

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