«by: MA. ALETHA A. NOGRA Civil Def fense Offic III cer Office of Civil D e Defense-Departmen of Natio Defen nt onal nse R Republic o the Philippines ...»
On January 17, 1995, Hyogo Prefecture experienced the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake which claimed 6,400 lives with an approximately 10 trillion yen worth of damages. Through the long years of recovery process, Hyogo learned many lessons and acquired much knowledge on disaster management. According to the Director General of Kobe City Fire Bureau, Toshiyuki Onoda, “the greater the disaster, the larger the damage the local government suffers from. The deterioration of administration systems caused by such huge disaster can lead to delays in providing support for citizens. Therefore, during the primary stage of a disaster and during the first few days following a disaster, citizens may also need to respond on their own.”2 As such, preparations for any disaster or emergencies done on a regular basis is greatly valued and will be very useful in times of disasters or emergencies. As one of the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, Kobe City established voluntary organizations for disaster prevention in communities called “Bokomi” or Disaster-Safe Welfare Communities. In Kobe City, educational programs on disaster management is resident-oriented and involves the entire community in preparing for and working toward disaster prevention. The Kobe City Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program is dubbed as “Bokomi” or Disaster-Safe Welfare Community.
Specifically, Bokomi is Kobe City’s disaster prevention organizations “Disaster-Safe Welfare Communities” and an abbreviation of its Japanese name “Bosai Fukushi Komyunithi”. The institutionalization of the establishment of Bokomi started from the lessons learned from the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. According to the Bokomi Guidebook, model organizations were established in 11 districts in the city Onoda, Toshiyuki. Foreword. Bokomi Guidebook. January 2010.
starting from 1995. In 2009, 191 districts in the city have organized their Bokomi, covering the whole area of Kobe City, and to date, Bokomi have been organized in 100% of the Kobe City districts.3 BOKOMI is Kobe City’s Community-Based Disaster Prevention Organization Accordingly, BOKOMI is established in every municipal elementary school district by the residents. The reason why BOKOMI is based on all elementary school districts is that there is an existing “Welfare Community” organization established for welfare purposes in each elementary school district and a disaster-prevention (bosai) organization integrated into the existing organization. Also, elementary schools serve as evacuation sites for communities in emergencies (such as disasters and crimes) in Japan. This is another reason why BOKOMI is established in each elementary school district so that each BOKOMI can operate their evacuation site in case of an emergency.
During the February 6-8, 2013 trip in Sendai City by the ADRC Visiting Researchers together with JICA to learn on the lessons of the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was noted that many success stories of lives saved from the tsunami when the communities evacuated on the top floor of elementary schools. However, evacuees had to endure the cold temperature and the wet clothes that they wore through the night because they had nothing with them.
The process of establishing BOKOMI in local areas requires certain criteria such as first, the establishment of a community-based disaster prevention organization is discussed and decided on by local government organizations including the local city office (ward office) and the local fire station, together with leaders of local residents’ associations, women’s associations, elderly associations, volunteer fire corps, Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs), etc.
Once the establishment of BOKOMI is decided on, the equipment and materials needed for the activities are distributed from the local government (Kobe City) and storehouses are installed in local parks, usually in elementary school parks which also serve as evacuation centers, in preparation for emergencies.
Bokomi Guidebook. January 2010.
In order to enable the utilization of people’s networks in case of emergency, BOKOMI also conduct welfare activities (such as keeping in touch with and holding lunch gatherings for the elderly who live alone) as an effort to cover both community welfare activities and community disaster prevention activities. This is a characteristic feature of the community-based disaster prevention organizations in Kobe City which were established based on the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.
Cooperation between BOKOMI and a School In Kobe City, local BOKOMI assists with the conduct of emergency drills in school, because cooperation between schools and communities has certain advantages.
BOKOMI can give advice and guidance to schools because they conduct emergency drills in their community regularly and they have the know-how, equipment and material for the drills. Then, the community residents experienced the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and therefore they can directly pass on lessons learned from the earthquake to children who do not experience it. In addition, school teachers who did not experience the earthquake are also increasing in number. Community residents who participate in school activities can assist teachers who have not experienced earthquakes and enable more effective disaster prevention education through which children can really understands its importance. Another advantage is that, children’s parents and the Parents-Teachers Association who do not often participate in community drills are more likely to participate in emergency drills held at schools. This provide a chance for both of them to become interested in participating community-based disaster prevention activities and this can lead to the revitalization of the BOKOMI.
Cooperation among Local Government Organizations and their Assistance to Communities Kobe City Board of Education and Kobe City Fire Bureau (KCFB), which supports BOKOMI, jointly developed a disaster prevention education programs which can be used at schools mainly elementary schools, and other educational situations. These programs were then compiled in a booklet. The series of disaster prevention education program used in the BOKOMI Guidebook is taken form the said booklet.
The booklet also includes a host of education programs through which children can obtain knowledge including techniques for disaster prevention while thinking on their own and enjoying at the same time. In addition to the series of disaster prevention programs, the booklet also explains how schools can cooperate with the local BOKOMI when conducting each program.
The booklet is distributed to BOKOMI as well as to schools with the aim of promoting integrated disaster prevention activities by communities and schools. It is expected that using the same booklet on disaster prevention education will promote coordinated activities between communities and elementary schools.
KCFB also coordinates schools and communities by deploying a person in charge of community-based disaster prevention to each fire station, who is responsible for giving advice on disaster prevention education and drills, renting educational materials and other equipment and materials, as well as dispatching fire station staff to communities and schools.
Framework for Cooperation among Various Sectors in Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe City (Local Government Organizations, Universities, Communities, Schools, Private Companies, NGOs, etc) Since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake which occurred 15 years ago, people in Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe City have learned the importance of cooperation among various sectors (“horizontal” relationship) for improving disaster prevention capabilities of the communities and promoting disaster prevention education at schools, rather than each sector individually conducting their activities (“vertical” relationship). Through the fifteen (15) years of experience, the cooperative framework has been developed.
Community-based disaster prevention activities and disaster prevention education at schools can lead to both the revitalization of the community activities for disaster prevention and better quality disaster prevention education at schools.
Community emergency drill programs are various drill programs which can be conducted by local community residents, by the community-based disaster prevention organizations. This part also includes the information about how to develop a drill plan and how to conduct emergency drills when implementing drills in local communities. In the BOKOMI Guidebook, the guidelines in conducting emergency drills are also provided and can be shared in local communities who will participate. If no specific disaster prevention framework exists in the area, one can utilize the existing districts and different actors in the districts (such as residents’ organizations, religious institutions, women’s associations and mutual support groups).
If there are groups which are working on specific issues in the community (such as welfare, the environment, and healthcare), one could work with these groups and foster them so that they can work on disaster prevention activities in addition to their current activities. For example, groups which work on wefare plus disaster prevention; or groups on the environment plus disaster prevention; and groups on healthcare plus disaster prevention can be considered.
School Disaster Prevention Education Programs
The BOKOMI also provides guidelines on various disaster prevention education programs which mainly target elementary schools. BOKOMI assists in the formulation of a school disaster management plan and annual disaster prevention education plan.
The programs that they have developed are designed to be instructed and utilized mainly by teachers, but most programs can be conducted in cooperation with local communities. The information provided can be utilized for implementing community-and-school joint educational activities on disaster risk reduction and management.
In Kobe, local communities or the BOKOMI assist the schools in conducting emergency drills which are normally held following evacuation drills at schools. Local government organizations including fire stations also assist in the emergency drills.
The program being pursued by the BOKOMI is mainly activities involving earthquake preparedness and the emergency drills and disaster prevention education programs are also based on the Japan context. However, all of these can be modified to suit other countries actual situation and conditions. In Japan, governmental support for emergency drills and first aid training is mainly provided by fire stations. Any governmental support suited for the actual condition of each country should be provided through appropriate frameworks. The cooperative framework to be used among government organizations must be reviewed, discussed and agreed upon among themselves be done on a regular basis.
Cultivating a Culture of Safety at an Early Age: Disaster Reduction Drill in Kindergarten School A culture of safety is institutionalized in Japan starting from an early age as we have witnessed in Kuwanoki Kindergarted School, Seishin Chuo where the disaster prevention drill is being conducted every month in coordination with the local fire department, the community leader, the school principal and management, teachers and volunteer junior high school students in the community.
Kaeru Caravan is a brand new disaster prevention art program launched as part of the ten-year commemorative project for the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.
This program consists of a workshop which allows participants to learn how to extinguish a fire and rescue and aid people while enjoying game-like activities and “Kaekko Bazaar”, a toy exchange program designed by artist Hiroshi Fuji. As a result of this program, young families who rarely participated in disaster drills before began to actively participate in the program.
Iza! Kaeru Caravan! is a new type of disaster drill program co-developed by plus (+) arts and the artist Hiroshi Fuji. Based on the toy barter trading program "Exchange Bazaar", invented by Fuji in 2000, that can attracts broader range of audiences and creates an enjoyable atmosphere, the program turns bazaar’s "hands-on corner" into amusing disaster drills such as "fire-fighting", "rescue" and "first-aid". The participants are able to learn about disaster prevention and acquire related skills while enjoying themselves. This new attempt has attracted young families who were not necessarily proactive about disaster drill before and had total of 7,000 family members participated in the 10th anniversary events for the Great- Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, over 19 days at seven different venues, in Kobe in 2005.
In 2006, in order to expand the program throughout Japan, the program changed its name from "Kobe Kaeru Caravan 2005" to "Iza! Kaeru Caravan!", and held events in Yokohama, Niigata, Osaka and Miyazaki. The program has continued to organize events in different cities in Japan including Tokyo since 2007 while it starts to launch in the cities of other Asian countries. With the help of +arts, most of the cities that held the program for the first time conducted the second and following events voluntarily.
D. Corporations Commitment on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management:
Osaka Gas Company Even the private company has the genuine commitment of not only taking care of the needs of their customers but also in making the environment safe from disasters with its earthquake-triggered disaster prevention measures.
Right after the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, up to around 860,000 households were cut off from the gas supply. This also included those whose gas supply was shut off to prevent a secondary disaster. Applying the lessons learned on this particular earthquake, Osaka Gas has developed a five-year Disaster Mitigation Plan which comprises three pillars such as prevention measures, emergency response and restoration measures. Based on the plan, Osaka Gas has implemented various measures including the development and introduction of an earthquake-proof equipment, establishing gas shut-off systems, providing disaster education and training to employees and developing temporary gas supply systems.