Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, meets with Governor Toshizo Ido of Hyogo Prefecture, Japan./ UNISDR photo

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake verification and recommendations project

In the wake of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (GHAE), the Hyogo Prefectural Government(Hyogo)summarised recovery reports one year after the disaster. In addition, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Research Institute created a 10-volume publication on the disaster recovery progress. In the fifth year after the Earthquake, the Institute carried out the Earthquake Countermeasure Comprehensive International Review Project, while implementing the 10-Year Reconstruction Overall Verification and Recommendations Project at the 10th anniversary of the earthquake. These projects summarised lessons learned from the GHAE while making recommendations on future disaster reduction. Furthermore, for the 15th anniversary the earthquake, the institute published a book entitled “TSUTAERU: Passing on the Lessons of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake”, that outlined the lessons from the Earthquake in an easy-to-understand and concise manner.

Case Study

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake verification and recommendations project

 Context

While GHAE taught many lessons to Hyogo, these lessons needed to be analyzed systematically in order to turn the lessons into “knowledge” that is a reference for other types of disasters and future disaster reduction. It is therefore important for the local government to present these lessons in an understandable way for researchers, government officers and citizens.

Coping Strategy

After the occurrence of a disaster, local governments must allocate a significant level of staff and budget to post-disaster recovery measures. It is therefore considered less important to keep records and pass on the lessons from the disaster.

Under the leadership of the Governor of Hyogo, however, a disaster review initiative was assigned high priority and the prefectural government established a special task force for the task. In this initiative, experts conducted reviews on respective subjects to secure a proper level of facts. Meanwhile, government staff gathered data and conducted personal interviews to assist the experts’ task.

In the review conducted at the fifth anniversary of the disaster, experts in Japan and abroad reviewed 20 subjects that had been particularly highlighted by the public. Under the leadership of the Reconstruction 10-Year Committee, the 10th year review was comprehensively done on 54 subjects on recovery from the GHAE, with verification from non-political and non-governmental organisations, as well as from companies’ disaster response and recovery activities.

Moreover, in order to disseminate the relevant information widely among the public, Hyogo published a concise booklet entitled “Let’s Pass on the Lessons of 1/17: From Creative Reconstruction to the Future” along with a report totalling several thousand pages. Hyogo also published the full text of the 10-year review report on its official website. For the fifteenth anniversary of the Earthquake, Hyogo published the book entitled “TSUTAERU: Passing on the Lessons of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake”, which was sold at bookstores and released on the web.

Results

The publications on the many lessons learned from the GHAE were drawn up by high-level experts in different fields, and can be used for future disaster reduction.

Measuring Success

Review reports were delivered to disaster-affected areas in Japan, and these are now used in their recovery programmes. Moreover, the contents of these reports have been widely communicated to the public through briefings and training to visitors from inside and outside Japan.

Potential for replication

In Japan, it is becoming popular for experts to compile and retain the records of the lessons from a major disaster, as seen in the review carried out in the disaster-affected areas of Great East Japan Earthquake. Any national or local government that has experienced a large-scale disaster should recognize the importance of assigning dedicated staff to carry out the task of recording and reviewing the disaster.

Information of Contact Person

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