神戸大学大学院国際協力研究科 復旦大学国際関係・公共事務学院 高麗大学校国際大学院

News & Topics

Risk Management Seminar “DRR Strategy for Mega-Earthquake Disasters”

  On 7 and 14 October 2014, Professor Yasuo Tanaka, Brunsfield Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia, delivered a lecture entitled “DRR Strategy for Mega-Earthquake Disasters” for the Kobe University CAMPUS Asia Program.

20141007-14-1

  Professor Tanaka began by discussing how the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake affected civil engineers. He said that before the earthquake, it was thought technology would be effective for disaster prevention and thus focus was placed on disaster response, rescue, and aid. However, this mindset shifted after seeing the severe damage caused by this quake. Civil engineers realized that they could not completely protect the city from all major disasters and minimizing damage would be crucial. This is the idea behind disaster risk reduction (DDR), which requires cooperation within local communities.
  DRR became the primary objective in risk management. Professor Tanaka said that the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami made engineers and researchers keenly aware of the need for DRR preparation. The UN Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe was held in 2005, and became a keystone of the DRR concept under the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. There, the “Hyogo Framework for Action” (HFA) was approved with the aim of reducing disaster losses between 2005 and 2015. The HFA set out three strategic goals: integration of DRR into sustainable development; development and strengthening of institutions, mechanism, and capabilities to build resilience to hazards; and systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery programs. Professor Tanaka added that a post-HFA framework will be discussed at the UN Conference on Disaster Reduction in Sendai in spring 2015.

20141007-14-2

  He then explained the impact of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on Japan’s administrative system for mega disaster preparation. In 1995, laws were outdated and inefficiently deployed administrative resources in rescue efforts. Also, these outdated laws hindered the volunteers who came from all over Japan. As a result of the 1995 earthquake, the laws were changed, sectionalism was overcome, and supervision of response activities was unified under the Cabinet Office.
  Professor Tanaka stressed that the occurrence of natural disasters is beyond scientists’ knowledge, enumerating the limits of scientific prediction shown by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. To conclude, he spoke again about the importance of disaster preparation. He reiterated the significance of risk assessment and added that risk management must be community-based and passed on from one generation to the next.