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Development of a disaster information delivery system

Hyogo Prefectural Government (Hyogo) continuously releases real-time information on river water and rainfall levels to the public via the Internet and TV. Moreover, Hyogo and its municipal governments use the ‘Phoenix Disaster Management System’ to share information on river water level forecasts, along with SMS and email to send emergency information about earthquakes, tsunami, extreme weather and evacuation recommendations/instructions. In addition, Hyogo is equipped with flood prevention systems. Specifically for rivers with recreational water parks, if the water levels of these rivers rise rapidly due to rainfall, Hyogo has established circulating alarm lights, integrated with flood alerts/ warnings.

HFA Priority 2

Context

When an emergency situation occurs it is necessary to provide emergency and evacuation information to citizens. It is difficult, however, to release precise information for specific areas to citizens through the newspapers, TV, radio, and other mass media. Data about river water levels and rainfall amounts is gathered by Hyogo and must be delivered to citizens in an easy-to-understand manner to raise their disaster prevention awareness and support the proactive formulation of evacuation plans. In a tragic accident some Kobe residents playing at a riverside were swept away and drowned because of a sudden increase of river water. This accident triggered a major challenge taken on by Hyogo to provide emergency information to citizens in riverside areas.

Coping Strategy

Hyogo developed a system called “Hyogo Emergency Net (E-Net)” service, to deliver alerts and disaster information as well as evacuation information to the mobile phones of pre-registered citizens. As a means of communicating such information to non-Japanese citizens in the prefecture, this system operates in five languages (English, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese and Vietnamese) – translating standard types of disaster information in advance. As for the release of tsunami information requiring urgent action, Hyogo is prepared to disseminate information via the emergency email system that does not require prior registration (telecommunication carriers automatically deliver alerts to all mobile phones in specific areas). For citizens who are unable to use mobile phones and internet services, Hyogo also disseminates disaster information by TV-based data broadcasting.

With only numerical data about river water levels and rainfall amounts, it is difficult to make a decision about whether to evacuate or not. Therefore Hyogo introduced an easy to understand visual disaster risk information system that shows visual images from river monitoring cameras, designates dangerous monitoring spots with red circles on maps and displays current river water levels on cross sectional drawings of places being monitored near rivers.

Furthermore, for citizens who are using rivers for recreation when a dangerous situation arises, Hyogo has installed sirens and circulating alarm lights that are designed to issue alerts.

Results

The system enables dissemination of information by municipalities; detailed community-specific information such as evacuation recommendations/ instructions as well as evacuation notices can be delivered.

Citizens can easily collect information about river water level and rainfall amount data on a real-time basis.

Measuring Success

The number of registrations for the “E-Net” service stood at approximately 862,900 (as of the end of fiscal year 2013), which means that the number of users grew to about 16% of the entire population of Hyogo.

Potential for Replication

Since the development of information systems requires a significant cost, it is appropriate to establish data gathering systems first such as equipment that monitors river water level and rainfall amounts, and then to consider how to share this information with citizens. A key point would be to disseminate relevant information utilizing community FM radio services and other media services that are popular in the community.

Contact Information

Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department

Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)

1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan

Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082

Mail: murata1@dri.ne.jp

 

Mr. Naoki Nakatsu

Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division,

Disaster Management & Planning Bureau,

Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department

5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan

Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914

Mail: naoki_nakatsu@pref.hyogo.lg.jp