Western Japan has been hit by heavy rains this past week, which resulted in floods and landslides in many parts of the country. Torrential rain, flood and landslides have resulted 158 casualties and 72 missing so far, and about 2 million people have been evacuated from the region (source: BBC). We have been reading terrible news and seeing pictures of people seeking shelter on the roofs of their houses, and continue receiving dreadful updates of potential secondary risks (additional landslides, health issues). But not all disaster news is bad. This is a story coming from a village somewhere between Hiroshima and Osaka.
All 900 people of Miyoshi District (in Ozu city, Ehime Prefecture) are safe and sound and have successfully escaped a village where the situation is exactly how we see it in the news: everything has been completely inundated by floods.
This was possible because of the great preparedness work that has been taking place in the village over the past 2 years. Each household was given a kit called ‘My Evacuation Plan’ prior to the disaster, which contains hazard map information, locations of evacuation centres, and a form for each resident to make up his/her evacuation plan, writing how and when they would evacuate and to where. In a way, this material becomes a personal evacuation planning resource, which prompted early action when they received warning of heavy rain and subsequent floods earlier this month. The city of Ozu also has plans to ensure that those who require assistance during evacuation are pre-registered, so that the city officials know exactly where these people reside.
The case from Miyoshi District surely tells us how important Target E of the Sendai Framework is, and how it can lead to local action to save lives.
Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS) is a non-profit organisation committed to sustainable socio-economic development, conservation of natural resources, use of clean energy and protection of the environment through research and the implementation of innovative programmes.
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