Reversibility Between “Nature” and “Society” Recognized in Extreme Meteorological Phenomenon: Taking an Example of the Flood Disaster in the Toga River in Kobe City
Katsuya Yamori* and Motoyuki Ushiyama**
*Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan
**Disaster Prevention Research Center, Shizuoka University, 836 Ohya, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka-Shi, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan
This paper considers the reversibility between “nature” and “society” recognized in extrememeteorological phenomena, taking an example of the Toga River flood disaster in Kobe City in July 2008. The point is stressed that, in extreme meteorological phenomena, “nature,” representing dangerous space and time, and “society,” representing safe space and time, are easily reversed. For example, in recent years, the number of cases has increased in which citizens experience a sudden rise in a river at recreational facilities with water such as in the case of the Toga River flood disaster. Later, they confessed that they had encountered flood disasters at an unexpected time and place. This suggests that disaster prevention measures to separate “nature,” a rise in a river and flooding, and “society,” the livelihood of citizens in a town, could ironically promote the occurrence of a flood disaster. Previous disaster prevention measures that have attempted to separate “nature” and “society,” spatially by building levees, etc., and also, temporarily by disseminating disaster information, etc., should be reviewed. It is now recommended that new measures be worked out tomake citizens recognize the reversibility of these two elements – “nature” and “society” – and the difficulty of separating these completely. Concretely, this paper discusses the importance of sharing similar flood disaster cases among citizens and the necessity of risk communication of conflicting and dilemmatic situations.
-  S. Breznitz, “Cry wolf: The psychology of false alarms,” Psychology Press, 1984.
-  Civilian Group for Protection of the Toga River, The 10th anniversary bulletin, 1986.
-  Civilian Group for Protection of the Toga River, The 20th anniversary bulletin, 1996.
-  Civilian Group for Protection of the Toga River, The 30th anniversary bulletin, 2006.
-  Digital Broadcasting research Group, “A report on The Toga River Abrupt Water Rise Warning System,” 2009,
http://www.jasdis.gr.jp/06chousa/3rd/togagawa.pdf [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Foundation of River and Watershed Environment Management, “A Handbook for safety along water side: Knowing river, enjoying river,” 2008,
http://www.mizube-support-center.org/contents/handbook.html [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Hyogo Prefecture Government, “A report of the first working group for water related accidents, 2008,
http://126.96.36.199/riverhpwriter/entry/y2008e940fc75086582646795d7a472de4ea6f3ea60554.html [accessed Feb. 28, 2009]
-  Kobe City Civilian Waterside Liaison Group, A bulletin of the Kobe City Civilian Waterside Liaison Group, Mizube, Vol.18, 1999,
http://www.city.kobe.jp/cityoffice/24/kyouiku/job5/mizube.html#toga [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Kobe City Board of Education, Guide maps of the Whole Toga River area, 2005,
http://www.city.kobe.jp/cityoffice/57/kinder/playguide/nada/togagawa/togagawa.html [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Kobe City Board of Education, “Urgent Learning Materials on Disaster Prevention Based on the Toga River Flood Accident,” 2008.
-  Kobe Newspaper, “A sudden water rise hit river side park road: Killing 4 personse, Nada, Kobe,” July 29, 2008a.
-  Kobe Newspaper, “Making emergent countermeasures for safety: a week after the Toga River Accident,” Aug, 4, 2008b.
-  Kobe Newspaper, “Warning light for abrupt water riser: 70% of local residents do not know them,” July, 26, 2010.
-  Kobe Newspaper, “Pray for a safer town: memorial event for the 4th anniversary of the Togag River Accident,” July 29, 2012.
-  Kobe Prefectural Citizens Department, Hyogo Prefecture Government, “A learning material of the Toga River,” 2005,
http://web.pref.hyogo.jp/ko05/ko05 1 000000002.html#h01 [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Mainichi Newspaper, “A disaster at Toga River: a place for relaxation or draining,” Aug 28, 2008a.
-  Mainichi Newspaper, “A thunderstorm along the Toga River: no alarm systems, past experiences untold,” July, 29, 2008b.
-  Mainichi Newspaper, “64 cm river rise in 10 minutes: 50 evacuated based on the lessons learnt in the 2008 incident,” July 28, 2012.
-  E. Nakakita, “Monitoring and prediction of torrential downpour,” Nagare, Vol.29, pp. 203-210, 2010.
-  I. Nakamura, “Psychology in emergent evacuation,” In H. Yoshii and A. Tanaka (Eds.), “An introduction to Disaster crisis management,” Kobundo Press, pp. 170-176, 2008.
-  Nippon Volunteer Network Active in Disaster, “Hometown rediscovery,” 1999,
http://www.nvnad.or.jp/activity/act03.html [accessed Feb. 28, 2009]
-  Plus arts, “Disaster reduction caravan,” 2005,
http://kaerulab.exblog.jp/ [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Research Group of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers on the Toga River flood accident, “An immediate report on the Toga River flood accident,” Presentation handout in the 2009 river flood management symposium, 2009.
-  River Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, “Proposals for safe use of river zones: balancing river risks and benefits,” 2000,
http://www.mlit.go.jp/river/pressblog/past press/press/200007 12/001030 2.html [accessed Feb. 28, 2009]
-  River Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, “Stop Accidents at Rivers! – in Preparation for Sudden Rises of Rivers,” 2007,
http://www.mizube-support-center.org/contents /stop-leaf.html [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  Seismological Society of Japam and Volcanological Society of Japan, “Kids Summer School for Disaster preventions,” 1999,
http://sakuya.ed.shizuoka.ac.jp/kodomoss/ [accessed Jan. 20, 2013]
-  H. Tatano and K. Yamori, “A quick report on the survey on the Toga River Accident,” 2009 (unpublished).
-  K. Yamori, “Toward a continuing dialogue,” Japanese Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol.46, pp. 198-210, 2007a.
-  K. Yamori, “Disaster risk sense in Japan and gaming approach to risk communication,” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Vol.25, pp. 101-131, 2007b.
-  K. Yamori, “Double bind of disaster information,” Journal of Disaster Information, Vol.7, pp. 28-33, 2009.
-  K. Yamori, T. Kikkawa, and T. Ajiro, “Leaning risk communication in a game: An introduction to “Crossroad Game,” Nakanishiya press, 2005.
-  Yomiuri Newspaper, “A report on the Toga River Accident,” Jan 15, 2009.
-  Yomiuri Newspaper, “A survey on Awareness of Citizens about Weather-Related Disasters” (unpublished).
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.