Current Status and Issues of Life Recovery Process Three Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake Questionnaire Based on Subjective Estimate of Victims Using Life Recovery Calendar Method
Reo Kimura*, Kota Tomoyasu*, Yutaka Yajima**,
Hitomi Mashima**, Kensaku Furukawa**, Yuki Toda**,
Kazuaki Watanabe**, and Takeo Kawahara**
*Graduate School of Human Science and Environment, University of Hyogo, 1-1-12 Shinzaike-honcho, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0092, Japan
**News Department, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), 2-2-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8001, Japan
This paper clarifies recovery status and life recovery processes based on victims’ feelings following the March 2011 Great East Japan earthquake. Specifically, a questionnaires were given to about 3,000 quake victims to determine their status and any issues they may have had. The overall recovery picture was obtained using measurement called a “recovery calendar.” The structure of the recovery process was compared to disasters such as the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake in 1995. The recovery calendar indicated that 80% of respondents felt that local activities have not been restored to their original state and saw themselves as victims three years after the earthquake, indicating that recovery had progressed slower than it had following the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. In a comparison of the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi displayed the same recovery trends. Fukushima recovered later than the other two prefectures. For the item “The local economy was no longer influenced by the earthquake,” it was indicated that the economic situation in Iwate was worse than that in Miyagi or Fukushima. General characteristics of the life recovery process were also investigated through a comparison to other earthquake and water disasters. Life recovery proceeded in five phases: 1) Victims prepared to have an uncomfortable life for a while and understood the extent of the damage. 2) Victims felt safe and office and school activities had resumed. 3) Everyday life settled down, housing problems were finally settled, and personal financial situations were no longer influenced by the earthquake. 4) Respondents no longer defined themselves as victims. 5) The local economy was no longer influenced by the earthquake. In cluster analysis for classifying life recovery processes, 12 items were classified into five clusters corresponding to the above five phases, statistically showing that victims’ lives recovered through these phases. As a result of decision tree analysis for predicting causes of “they no longer defined themselves as victims” in an attempt to organize life recovery processes, the same structure of life recovery processes was found as for the three-layer recovery model of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. In short, physical and economic recovery such as of houses and regions was achieved based on the reconstruction of infrastructures, followed by the achievement of life recovery. It is predicted and proposed that life recovery in areas affected by the Great East Japan earthquake took the course of infrastructure reconstruction at first, then achieved physical recovery in local areas by supporting house recovery on a parallel with economic support. To achieve them, a long-term plan from a perspective of at least 10 years is required, as was the case of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake.
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