«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 ...»
The Disaster Relief Act application such as supporting relief activities of the local governments like snow removal from houses, dispatch of Self-Defense Forces, provision of subsidiaries for removing snow from roads, provision of special local allocation tax to complement the financial shortage of local government due to expenses in aiding elderly families in removing snow and for other relief operations.
Based on the Act of Special Measures for Heavy Snowfall Areas, measures have been introduced to secure traffic and communications, protect agriculture and forestry industries, and improve living environmental facilities and national land conservation facilities.
Japan has become the champion of disaster risk reduction as a country because it has long institutionalized the combination of self-help efforts rooted in the awareness of the people and business corporations with the mutual-help efforts of various community-based organizations supported by the public-help efforts of the national and local governments. These characteristics of Japan Disaster Management System are extensively discussed in this paper through the various institutions that I have visited and the learning that I have accumulated in three and a half months of being a Visiting Research of the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) The Central Disaster Management Council played a vital role in this institutionalization process of creating and promoting a nationwide movement where individuals, families, communities, corporations and other various groups and entities participate in continuous activities and investments for mitigating damage. This movement has started in 2006 with the publication of the Basic Framework for Promoting a Nationwide Movement for Disaster Reduction Actions with Added Value to
Security and Safety.
To intensively heighten awareness of people on DRR, the national government has designated September 1st of every year as Disaster Reduction Day and August 30 to September 5as Disaster Reduction Week. Various events such as DRR Fair, seminars, DRR drills and exercises, and poster contests are being held throughout the country to highlight these periods.
Disaster education in schools has already been institutionalized starting from childhood and disaster prevention drills are being held regularly starting from kindergarten schools.
Disaster education is being taught in various school curriculums and social education with participation of the citizens is realized through the conduct of town-watching and hazard-mapping.
Sustaining the culture of safety is also continuously improving environment for disaster reduction volunteer activities since community-based disaster reduction organizations, firefighting and flood-fighting teams play a valuable role in disaster reduction in Japan.
In order to institutionalize this efforts, the national government has designated January 17 of each year as Disaster Reduction and Volunteer Day and January 15 to 21 as Disaster Reduction and Volunteer Week. The Cabinet Office takes the lead in creating opportunities to share information among volunteer groups and relevant entities and in providing useful information to improve the environment for disaster reduction volunteer activities including the holding of Disaster Reduction and Volunteer Forum every year.
This initiative by the national government is complemented by the publication of the Information and Hints Handbook which features information exchange on actual experiences and challenges of volunteer activities in cooperation with relevant ministries.
The role of business corporations is well defined in the whole gamut of disaster management system in Japan. Corporations are required to secure the safety of their customers and employees as well as to continue their business activities which contribute to the mitigation of social and economic difficulties during a disaster situation.
Specific examples of such corporations such as the Osaka Gas Company, the Lake Biwa and the Hanshin Expressway which I had visited will also be discussed in this paper.
The Cabinet Office likewise plays a vital role in the enhancement of disaster reduction activities of corporations with the publication of the Business Continuity Guide in 2005 which helps companies to develop their respective Business Continuity Plan. The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a corporate management strategy to continue prioritized crucial business activities or to resume them as quickly as possible in the recovery time, taking into consideration the possible loss of business transactions taken by competitors or loss of market share or corporate value due to interruption at a time of a disaster. The technical committee of the Central Disaster Management Council published a checklist for evaluation of the companies that are active in DRR and evaluation is being done by the market and the community where they are located. In addition, the Development Bank of Japan launched a new lending mechanism for disaster reduction rating system wherein incentives are given for companies that promote corporate disaster reduction activities.
Japan has acquired knowledge and technologies for disaster reduction based on the experiences and lessons learned from the numerous disasters it has encountered and uses these knowledge and technologies in advancing international cooperation in disaster reduction. Japan has been supporting the promotion of Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) in cooperation with the UN/ISDR through a) taking an “Initiative for DRR through Official Development Assistance (ODA)”, b) strengthening regional cooperation in collaboration with the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), and c) promoting international cooperation projects.
The Hyogo Prefecture Disaster Management System
Disaster management in Hyogo Prefecture is pursuing disaster reduction based on the experience and expertise it has gained through the years especially after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Lessons of this Earthquake for Hyogo Prefecture and the entire Japan include the importance of preparedness and building a disaster management system that could respond to any disaster. Also the importance of initial response system since the disaster management officials may be victims themselves or their families in times of great magnitude disasters and paralyzed telecommunications will be expected. The importance of cooperation among disaster management organizations together with the community and regional disaster-response capability. In the case of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, about 80 % of the victims who were buried under buildings during the quake were rescued by their family members or neighbors. This kind of local life-saving activities played a significant role in highlighting the importance of community-based disaster response. Likewise, the importance of making cities resilient where the need for urban planning that takes space and safety into careful consideration.
There is a Hyogo DM Center which was established in August 2000 as the first local government office dedicated to disaster management in Japan, and is capable of functioning even when lifelines have been disrupted in the aftermath of a major disaster.
The Hyogo DM Center serves as the regional hub for Disaster Management activities. The DM Center is earthquake resistant and houses administrative office of the emergency relief headquarters, exclusive well for drinking during disasters, independent power generator, underground safe and secured pathway for close cooperation between departments of the government, emergency headquarters control room, waiting room, night duty room, broadcasting room, network control room, and cooperation organization staff room. The Center utilizes the Phoenix Disaster Management System where functions for collection of observation data, prompt damage forecasts, the collection of damage information, map information, image information, estimation of supply and demand of personnel goods and others.
The Hyogo Prefectural Emergency Management Training Center located at Miki General Disaster Prevention Park serves as a back up center or Hyogo Wide Area Emergency management Base Network and Prefectural Emergency Management Training Center for Nishi-Harima, Tajima, Tamba, Hanshin-minami, and Awaji. The areas for athletic stadium, parking, and indoor tennis court serve as area for accumulation of relief supplies, sorting and delivery or relief goods. The playing field, indoor tennis court and lawn are for training activities, build up of personnel, accommodation and mobilization. The stand under the athletics stadium and regional disaster management center are for stockpile of supplies for disasters. Presently, it has a stockpile of 66,000 blankets, 100,000 simple food, 1,000 temporary toilets, 22 boats and others like rice, generator sets. The second athletic stadium, baseball field serve as helicopter airfield. As a base for emergency response activities during disaster, the center functions for provision of stockpiled materials to disaster area, gathering and accommodating personnel and staff for emergency response, accumulation and delivery of aid supplies from other areas. This 400-hectare area generally functions for disaster prevention activities such as stocking aid for supplies for victims, working as a heliport, area for camp of working staff and for storing aid supplies.
During normal times, the Prefectural Emergency Management Training Center and Miki General Disaster Prevention Park serve as facility for nurturing personnel engaged in safety and security of communities, research and studies on disaster prevention, and
place for sports and recreation.
The construction of 3-D Full-Scale Earthquake Testing Facility, nicknamed "E-Defense" in the city of Miki began in 1999 and was completed in 2005. The E-Defense houses the world's largest shaking table, which can simulate high level ground motions. This facility is a focus of full-scale testing of structures due to high-intensity earthquakes. It is a vehicle through which hope and optimism for improving the behavior of urban regions due to earthquakes will get an added boost. E-defense is open to the world and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) in the Philippines has carried out an experiment of standard and non-standard Concrete House Building (CHB) in the Philippines.
Furthermore, such a major facility requires coordination and collaboration of many participants, including academic institutions, government researchers, general public, private and industrial organizations
The Kobe City DM System
After the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the Kobe City Crisis Management has been paving the way for a more disaster resilient community and towards becoming the world’s safest city. It is their doctrine that developing a safe city starts with disaster reduction and crime prevention with the following five pillars: 1) Crisis management and disaster strategies from a long-term viewpoint; 2) enhancing communities’ disaster and crime prevention ability; 3) enhancing ability for crisis management and disaster response; 4) establishing disaster-resilient urban infrastructure; 5) passing on and communicating the lessons learned from disasters. Kobe City has the number one goal, and that is community development so that communities will be developed to protect the most precious things, such as life, from every crisis. Communities are also developed in order to minimize damage brought about by disasters and crimes that occurred in Japan and foreign countries to include catastrophic floods and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Kobe City views crisis not only limited to natural disasters, but crises including health such as outbreak of SARS and influenza, and from crimes and accident such as the Subway Sarin Gas Incident in 1995. In order to manage these crises efficiently and effectively, comprehensive measures are undertaken through self-help, mutual help and official help in carrying out the prevention, preparation, response and relief and recovery process. Tangible and intangible strategies and results are employed such as the enhancement of community’s ability for managing and responding to disasters; information dissemination, awareness raising, human resource
development; and the construction of infrastructure for a safe city.
Crisis management and disaster strategies from a long-term viewpoint are implemented through the formulation of disaster management plan, national protection plan, and promoting the implementation measures against Nankai Earthquakes and others. In enhancing community’s ability to prevent disasters and crimes, Seismic retrofitting of houses are mandated. However, during our visit to Kobe City Disaster Management Center on February 18, 2013 together with the participants of JICA Course, we learned that retrofitting of the houses of Japanese citizens take time and much efforts since the people perceive that retrofitting their houses would entail a big amount of budget. Part of community enhancement to prevent disasters and crimes in Kobe City is the development of BOKOMI (Kobe City Disaster-Social Welfare Community) organizations; development of voluntary crime prevention activities; safety measures to protect school grounds, sound development of young people; and teaching the community about the value and importance of water and green spaces. In enhancing the community’s ability for crisis management and disaster response, volunteer networks are created; implementation of measures for persons with special needs at the time of disasters; improving the system for health crisis management; improving the initial response system through the creation of crisis management room; improving firefighting and medical systems; and proper storage and maintenance of materials, water, toilets and other facilities needed especially during disasters. On the goal of becoming a world’s safest city, Kobe City implements seismic retrofitting of public buildings to make them earthquake-proof and this is already 100 percent (%) completed as of February 18, 2013 visit to the Kobe City Disaster Management Center. This is implemented alongside with the project of the improvement of crowded urban areas.