Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake_paper

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POST GREAT HANSHIN-AWAJI EARTHQUAKE: HOW JAPAN BUILD DISASTER AWARENESS WITHIN SOCIETY1 (Words count: 2.695, excluding references) By Mizan B.F. Bisri2 (111i414i)

A. INTRODUCTION: THE GREAT HANSHIN-AWAJI EARTHQUAKE AND CONTEXT OF THE PAPER Japan is one of the most prone countries due to various disaster risks, e.g. earthquake, tsunami, typhoon, volcanic eruption, etc. However, the global world views Japan as an example - a good practices - in terms of how a country prepare themselves to overcome various risk, both

from structural (physical) and non structural (policy, social engineering, etc.) approach 3. Such state actually could not be achieved without social learning from past disaster. For Japan, Great HanshinAwaji Earthquake in January 17th 1995 was one of the disasters that re-shape Japanese path in creating disaster-resilient society. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred on January 17th 1995, 5.46 a.m. local time. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the north of Awaji Island, i.e. 34o36 Latitude and 135o02 Longitude, approximately 16 km under the surface, and measured 7.3 on Richter scale. (Kobe City Government, 2011). As a result, there were 6.402 dead victims (4.571 in Kobe City), 40.092 persons injured, and 3 persons missing. The state of emergency and coverage of disaster area was being forced in 10 cities and 10 towns in Hyogo Prefecture (Hyogo Prefecture Government, 2011). The earthquake also destroyed (fully or partially collapsed) 248.080 structures (67.421 fully collapsed and 55.145 partially collapsed in Kobe City alone). At that time, there were 1.153 evacuation centers and the total numbers of evacuees/IDP (internally displaced persons) were 316.678 people. In sum, the earthquake caused economic losses approximately 9.926,8 billion yen. Thus, Kobe City which previously called as Mother-Port in Asia lost its pace of development.



Prepared for Special Course on Political and Social Development, conveyed by Prof. Kazumi Noguchi A Master Student, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University 3 As it mentioned by the Representatives of World Bank in the International Recovery Forum 2012, Kobe, 20 January 2012.


The earthquake caused two major changes in Japanese society: an increase in voluntary and non-government activities, and the enhancement of cooperation between local government and the residents' association (Shaw and Goda, 2004), in which such action (e.g. at the community-level) offers the best capacity development opportunity for institutional memory and effective action (UNOCHA, 2010), towards creation of resilient society. As a means, various activities to increase disaster awareness of the society took place, especially in Kobe and generally throughout Japan. In addition, transfer of knowledge social memory also being highlighted in post GreatHanshin Awaji Earthquake, covers the issue of importance of information sharing; importance of knowledge, lessons and experience on the earthquake; importance of education in disaster

reduction; importance of research in disaster reduction; and importance of citizen centered and active community (Tsunozaki, 2006). The term of recovery as a build-back better effort seems actually took place in Kobe City and Hyogo Prefecture in general; i.e. not only to reconstruct physical features of Kobe City in a better ways compare to condition before the earthquake, but also a Kobe society that more aware to disasters risk thus leads to a more resilient condition. This paper aims to describe variety of efforts to enhance Japanese disaster awareness within society after Great-Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, especially in Kobe City and Hyogo Prefecture and Japan in general. In addition, relevance from and towards Indonesia, as a country that also prone to various disasters, will be explained at the final part of the paper. Content of this paper draws from secondary data through desk study as well as primary data from field observation to various activities in Kobe City, related to enhancement of disaster awareness. B. A BRIEF OF DISASTER AWARENESS: LITERATURE REVIEW In short, disaster awareness is an aims to notify the public about their exposure to a hazard risk and to give them an accurate impression of how that risk affects them personally, it was the first stage before further efforts such as disaster preparedness activity can be applied (Coppola and Maloney, 2009). While it is true that the actual disaster was the most effective way to aware people about the risk, the experience of surviving a disaster has not been shown to increase future 2

preparedness behavior by any significant degree if a public disaster preparedness education or awareness efforts does not follow the event (Citizen Corps, 2006), in that sense such activity is actually a process of social learning within society (Bisri, 2010) to achieve particular resilience state (Twigg, 2007). According to Coppola and Maloney (2009:17), disaster awareness cannot be done by simply telling people about the source of hazard on particular disaster risk. At least, people should be informed about several features as follows: process of how the risk affects them (individually or as a group), activities that may result them in a place of risk, location and time that hazard may happened and caused disaster. In addition, just like any other communicative efforts, disaster awareness enhancement activities should be crafted according to the target of audience of particular activity. There are several challenges in communicating risk to increase disaster awareness, one of the most usually occurred are competition in terms of subject that being discussed; i.e. the theme of disaster will face stiff competition from day-to-day problems faced by the public such as poverty, crimes, illness, etc. Therefore, as Morgan (in Coppola and Maloney, 2009:18) noted, that there was only a limited amount time that people can devote to accept information about unusual risk, therefore disaster awareness should compose of accurate and trustworthy information as well as crafted as effective as possible. In addition, another challenge can be added especially to sudden-onset type of disasters, e.g. earthquake and tsunami, because their characteristics of occurrence are rapid, sudden, and happened rarely. In that sense, after particular major disaster probably it took several generations until the next occurrence. Therefore, how to convey message of disaster awareness in such long time span is also challenging. In the past, elderly use story, poem, picture and painting, etc. However, disaster awareness basically is not a stand-alone activity; it can be done altogether with other disaster preparedness or mitigation activities, both structural and non-structural, as long as in the process it incorporates the public themselves. The most important is to modify information 3

of disaster and its measurement to become knowledge that easy to understand by the people and motivate them to have intention to prepare; i.e. the essence of disaster awareness. C. POST-GREAT HANSHIN-AWAJI EARTHQUAKE: HOW JAPAN BUILD DISASTER AWARENESS WITHIN SOCIETY This part will discuss variety of ways that happened in Japan, especially in Kobe City and Hyogo Prefecture, which contribute towards assurance of disaster awareness within society. According to the findings, efforts that were made can be classified into four categories; i.e. 1) public participation in development planning and policy process, 2) commemoration of Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, transfer of knowledge, and disaster awareness campaign, and 3) various community engagements in disaster preparedness activities. After just four days prior to the earthquake, several main recovery and development plans were outlined; i.e. at least the Hyogo Phoenix Plan 1995 Kobe City Reconstruction Plan 1995 2005 (Tsunozaki, 2006; Adachi, 2008) and

2005 (Kobe City Government, 2011). Both plans itself was a

mix between top-down and bottom-up approach. For example, the Hyogo Phoenix Plan which implemented at 10 cities and 10 towns strived with a vision of creative reconstruction pre-earthquake better than

a harmonious coexistence between people and nature/society (Tsunozaki, 2006).

It thus contained with five pillars, which four of its embedded the value of people participation; i.e. creation of a welfare society tailored for the 21st century, creation of a culturally rich society open to the world, creation of a disaster-resistant metropolis where people can live with confidence, and creation of urban development with multi-centered network-type metropolitan area. Each of them leads to the participation of people, thus automatically those key figure from the community gain more awareness about disaster and how to build better future. It also has positive correlation with the emergence of community-based activities in Kobe and Hyogo area. Similar approach also conducted at Kobe City, aside of providing temporary shelter at each ward physically, socially and physiologically those areas also revitalize sense of civicness of the people. Kobe City Government provided proper opportunity for the people to join the development 4

planning for each ward, and it was indeed proven to be successful according to The 10th Year Restoration Committee, i.e. one of the factors was multi-tier implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of recovery plan, both in Kobe City and Hyogo Prefecture (Kobe City Government, 2008); e.g. specially dedicated 5 years and 10 years evaluation of the recovery progress by engaging community, NPOs, altogether with government. Shaw and Goda (2004) wrote a good explanation about Nishi-suma as one of the community which proven to be bounce back better after the earthquake to become a sustainable community, as it presented in the figure below.



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