People Who Cannot Move During a Disaster – Initiatives and Examples in Japan Disaster Victim Support
Eiichi Yamasaki*,† and Haruo Hayashi**
*Faculty of Societal Safety Science, Kansai University
7-1 Hakubai-cho, Takatsuki-shi, Osaka, Japan
**National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster, Ibaraki, Japan
The main purpose of this paper is to explore the vulnerability of disaster victims from the perspective of immobility, in contrast to the conventional perspective of mobility. What causes immobility in Japan? And how have immobile people been treated? In this article, I will attempt to answer these questions using some concrete examples. Immobile people have been recognized as “people requiring assistance during a disaster” (PRADD). This term helps us understand immobility in Japan. The Sanjou flood (2004) prompted the formulation of the “Guidelines for Evacuation Support of People Requiring Assistance during a Disaster.” The national government has encouraged local governments and residents to be prepared for a disaster using the guidelines. Nevertheless, preparations for disasters have not progressed very well. It was in this context that the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) occurred.
During the GEJE, immobility raised the risk of death for PRADD due to the tsunami. After the tsunami, there were also PRADD who could not evacuate to shelters because they were anxious about how life would be there. Now many victims live in temporary housing. There will be people who cannot move to temporary housing in the future. It is likely that they will be mainly PRADD. These cases make it clear that immobility causes vulnerability to disasters.
I will also provide an example of how mobility causes vulnerability in a disaster – a stranded commuter or person during the GEJE.
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