Day_166: Interview Report: Hurricane Katrina Response (3)

Date and time
7 May 2006

New Orleans Homeland Security and Public Safety Office
(New Orleans City Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety )

Colonel and Director

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response

Day_103 : New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina in 2005

There are three drainage canals in New Orleans. There is also a pump station for each. Since New Orleans is below sea level, water is constantly pumped from these pump stations and drained into Lake Pontchartrain.

The breakwater was corrupted by the storm surge. The water was flowing into the canal from the lake, and at the same time, the pump station had the maximum pressure with the water. The pumps were broken and became not-functioned.

After the hurricane, there was only one evacuation route that crossed the bridge over Mississippi. However, the route had been blocked. These also affected support activities.

<Measures for breakwater>
At present, the Corps of Engineers will set a lock at the entrance of the canal and close them to prevent water from flowing into the canal since this year.

The challenge from this year is the evacuation of West Bank citizens. Because the levees are weak, hurricanes can easily break them.

The levee can be effective this year, but the problem is that in the next two years, the pump station will have insufficient capacity to pump water.

< Future measures of the city >
The following three goals are set as future measures. First, leave no one in the shelter. Second, the city will assist those who have no access to evacuation. Third, improve the safety of city facilities and property before and after the disaster.

Another important point this year is to let all citizens evacuate two days before Hurricane hit. The challenge is the reality that many people would not try to evacuate. As a background, the levee is to be broken, needs to have a terrible situation imagination.

There is a plan to install floodgates in a wide range of wetlands in eastern New Orleans to prevent storm surges.

Political challenge, New Orleans, including the peripheral has originally 100 million people, was an energy supply base, there is a tremendous national influence, the people here have to work.

As a countermeasure, the city has provided a wireless system. The system had been unavailable after the Hurricane.

A radio station in City Hall as a countermeasure against rumors which had become a social issue during Katrina was set up to keep media members staying and unifying the correct information.

Related information

The NIED team went to New Orleans and Missippi coastal areas to investigate.
Characteristics of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina Disasters

The community data center is the best to investigate to grasp the trend by using stats.

Day_100 : A Human Suffering Exacerbation-Data from Greater New Orleans Community Data Center

Day_156: Matsushiro Earthquake Center

I will update a column of the NIED e-mail magazine which I wrote a long time ago because the content is not faded with time. (I will do this step by step in Japanese and English) I will also add comments to update the situation.

Published April 5, 2010
NIED-DIL e-mail magazine: Matsushiro Earthquake Center

■ Matsushiro Earthquake Center ■

There is an organization called Matsushiro Earthquake Center in Matsushiro, Nagano Prefecture in Japan. The Center was established in February 1967 at the Japan Meteorological Agency in Matsushiro Town, Nagano Prefecture (now Nagano City) based on the Matsushiro Seismological Observatory which was established in 1947. The background of this establishment is that between August 3, 1965, and April 17, 1966, insensitive earthquakes, seismic intensities 5 and 4 were observed three times each and a total of 6,780 earthquakes were detected in the Matsushiro town area. This severe earthquake activity has become a major social problem.

It is famous that Mayor Nakamura at that time said that he wanted to learn and research more than things and money, and that was a starting point of the center. The center is also well known as the location which was planned to build the imperial general headquarter at the end of the second world war. Besides, It is known that the experience gained from the observation of the earthquake has dramatically influenced the progress of earthquake prediction and disaster countermeasures today.

The author is organizing the records of the discourse at the time with the cooperation of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Earthquake Observatory (Matsushiro Seismological Observatory) as the Disaster Information Office. I am surprised at the fascinating records. The fact that Matsushiro city was working to build a disaster-resilient town in the wake of an earthquake throughout the city is lively communicated. For example, there was not only research on the earthquake itself but also research on the health status of students, including psychological aspects from nearby schools caused by a swarm. This was due to the cooperation of Matsushiro health centers and hospitals. It does not stop there. Members were active in the front lines of various fields at the time, such as landslide surveys caused by earthquakes and the impact on water supply facilities during earthquakes, reports from various perspectives.

I am sorry that the format etc. is still insufficient, but I am starting to release these records on the HP in hopes that you can see it in a provisional form. Please see if you have time.


Now you can not access, but you can ask NIED DIL to have information.

Published on April 5, 2010

Matsushiro Seismological Observatory

Day_155: Recoveries from Disasters

I will update a column of the NIED e-mail magazine which I wrote a long time ago because the content is not faded with time. (I will do this step by step in Japanese and English) I will also add comments to update the situation.

Published March 5, 2010
NIED-DIL e-mail magazine: Recoveries from Disasters

■ Disaster Recoveries ■
Global attention is being focused on how recovery will take place after the Haiti earthquake. I have studied a lot about disaster recovery. Still, as a valid theory of thinking, a researcher named Haas says, “A rapidly growing city will recover quickly after the disaster but will remain unchanged and stagnant or downhill cities will recover very slowly after the disaster or will quickly decline “(1977). When considering what kind of area or a growing city or not is in this case, the population before the disaster could be examined as an indicator. I’ve researched a lot and predict that no matter how massive the distraction maybe, an area with a growing population may be easier to recover. For example, in the city of Nagoya, due to the Typhoon Ise Bay disaster, the scale of economic and social damages were plentiful, and the amount of aid was small, but it was said that it was revived in less than a year. In comparison, the scale of economic and social disasters in New Orleans due to the Hurricane Katrina disaster was not so large relatively as statistics, but the amount of aid was enormous. Nevertheless, it may be useful to say that five years have passed and that recovery has not yet been well. New Orleans was even expressed to be a surviving city, even before the disaster. Regarding the recovery of the stricken area of ​​the Indian Ocean tsunami, it is not clear here, but there were many similar trends.
Let’s return to the example of Haiti. Examination of the population growth rate in Haiti (Port-au-Prince) showed that it was overgrowing until the disaster occurred. Haiti’s revival should be relatively quick, given the population index alone. However, it is also possible that Haiti has an entirely different social situation that cannot be applied in the above example. You may have to think that Haiti’s revival will be heavily influenced by the very elusive variables of political steering and social conditions. There is an article in the magazine “ Economist ” that fears that similar problems may occur in Haiti, such as the problem of contributions and aid in the Indian Ocean cases where oversupply was unevenly distributed, and the damage was widened.
What do you think of Haiti’s recovery?

The data below indicates a lot about the theory.

Haiti Population Data

Port-au-Prince Population Data

Day_154 : (In Japanese) 災害からの復興




Day_139(Rev) : A Disaster Recovery in an Aging Society : An Okushiri Town’s Case


Based on the disaster recovery theories as mentioned before in Day_92, A Okushiri town’s disaster recovery could be predicted, however, the town still has a lot of difficulties in the disaster recovery process. This was shown in Day_75.

Day_92 : Disaster Recovery Theory (2)


Day_75 : Okushiri Island (2)



Figure 1 Demographic Changes in Okushiri Town

The 1993 southwest-off Hokkaido earthquake hit Okushiri Island severely. Casualties are 198 (including the missing number)and the economic damage indicator mentioned in the above is 0.03(Day_92). This means human suffering is relatively high however economic damage is not so high to the country. However, aid volume from outside is 14.4 percent, as the indicator, and this is so outrageously huge compared to disasters in Day_92. This can be said in the reflection of the Japanese economic situation during the time.

Okushiri town had faced population decreasing and aging issues before the disaster. After the disaster, Okushiri town had a lot of aids, especially from the inside of Japan. Japan had a very good economy at that time, so the situation enabled them to have such huge aids. Even though the large economic assistance, the town’s demographic tendency before the disaster was facilitated and faces a severe recovery process.

The population was dropped to the 2nd worst in Japanese municipalities between 2005 and 2010 after the disaster. Okushiri’s population was decreasing before and after the disaster, for example, 27.4 percent decreasing from 1990 to 2009. In addition, the population of the island had a declining tendency before the disaster and this was facilitated by the disaster. The decreasing population before the disaster can be confirmed as 5,490 in 1980 and 4,604 in 1990, this means 16 percent decrease.

The aging proportion increased two times from 1990(15.6) to 2010(32.7). The aging proportion (over 65) before the disaster was increased from 10.0 percent in 1980 to 15.6 percent in 1990. The Japanese economy was expanding at the time and a huge amount of aid was coming to the town from outside and installed, however, this Okushiri town’s case supports the recovery theory(Figure 1).

Over 20 years after the disaster, Okushiri town gives us a lot of lessons. The followings are the points that we can learn from the lessons to build a resilient society in demographic challenges.

1. Financial aids allocations: balancing soft and hard countermeasures
2. A Long perspective on the disaster recovery process

Concerning the Financial aids allocations, a huge amount of financial assistance rushed to the town, however, the assistance went to the infrastructures, building houses, purchasing fishermen’s ships, and so on to help the people’s lives in the town after the disaster. This shows more emphasis on the reconstruction than the recovery.

With respect to the recovery process, they tend to miss a long perspective. The people in the town could rebuild their houses and purchase new fishermen’s ships. Infrastructures are also rebuilt after the disaster. However, they have had not so attractive industries which the younger generation would like to work and remain in the town to live their lives. The Okushiri becomes high resistance against the disasters town, however, the population is decreasing and aging is facilitating dramatically. This means not so high resilient town. In addition, the cost of infrastructure maintenance will be a burden for the town in the long run.

To be continued……

# This post will be partly published as a paper.

Day_131 : Italy-Recent earthquake and past earthquake disasters (2)

CNN: (October 30)A powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy on Sunday morning, injuring at least 20 people, in the strongest tremor to hit the country in more than three decades. The earthquake follows tremors last week and comes on the heels of a devastating quake in August, which killed nearly 300 people and flattened entire villages.

Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) still does not list this earthquake situation.This earthquake is severer than this August Earthquake(Day_107). Earthquakes in Italy happened mostly central and southern part of Italy around the

Day_107 : Italy-Recent earthquake and past earthquake disasters

Natural disaster trends are usually from human sufferings to economic damage. In Italy, main natural disaster is the earthquake and follow the trends as you can confirm below.
However, recent earthquake disasters in Italy are so severe.  With this August earthquake, the number of casualties would be over 550. The disaster recovery is also the issue. As mentioned in Day_107, “Italy has a poor record of rebuilding after quakes. About 8,300 people who were forced to leave their houses after a deadly earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009 are still living in temporary accommodation(Reuters).”

Table 1 and Table 2 show the 1900-2016 top 10 deadliest and costliest disasters in Italy (EM-DAT).

Table 1  Totals deaths
Italy deadliest

Table 2  Total damage
Italy costliest disasters

Day_124 : Chain Reactions of Economic Damage- 2011 Chao Phraya River Flood in Thailand (3) Horizontal and Vertical Damage Exacerbations

Continue to explain the chain reactions of economic damage caused by Chao Phraya river flood. There were horizontal and vertical damage exacerbations types.

Concerning the horizontal damage exacerbations, we sometimes neglect indirect severe impacts caused by disasters. However, in this global world, economic activities are connected each other and so do the impacts. The following Figure 1 shows the three types of disaster exacerbations for example. The first category is “All or most factories of one’s own as well as those of partners suffer serious flood damage”. This category is the severest. The second category is “One’s factories suffer serious damage, but partners suffer no or light damage”. The third category is “One’s factories suffer no or light damage while partners suffer serious damage”. However, if the one’s factory totally relies on the partners which are affected by the disaster could have a very serious impact.

Figure 1  Damage types and severities (Horizontal)

With respect to the vertical damage exacerbation, the key word is the suppliers’ responsibility. For example, a big major car company has the responsibility for customers to supply cars, subcontractors have the responsibility for the car company to supply the parts,  sub-subcontractors have the responsibility for the subcontractors to supply the parts of the parts, sub-sub-subcontractors have the responsibility for the sub-subcontractors to supply the parts of the parts of the parts, and so on. The numbers of the companies become larger along with this vertical pyramidal structure. However, their resources are opposite as mentioned in Figure 2. Industrial estates and parks ordered the evacuation for the companies very slowly at that time of the flood because of some reasons (The reasons will be explained). However, the big companies continued their activities until the time, so sub and sub-sub and sub-sub-sub contractors could not evacuate until the bigger (upstream) companies’ evacuation decision making because of the supplier’s responsibilities. The big companies could evacuate so fast and effectively. They have the resources to do so. However, smaller companies could not evacuate so fast because they needed to wait until the bigger company’s evacuation decision and they tended to have limited resources along with the structure. They, for instance, could not move heavy machines to the upper floors. They did not have enough employees, systems, or plans to do so.

Figure 2  Damage types and severities (Vertical)

These are the outlines of the disaster damage exacerbation of the supply chains.  These are presented at several meetings in Japan.

Day_112 : 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and Disaster Prevention Day(Tentative)

September 1 is the Disaster Prevention Day in Japan. This is because of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. This quake made over 105,000 casualties* and gave huge impacts on a Japanese society. The Great Kanto Earthquake is the worst disaster in a Japanese history. Here, some points are picked up. First, the quake directly attacks the capital city, Tokyo. Second, the disaster killed so many people mainly by fire, not objects falling. Third, rumors made the disaster worse. Fourth, Tokyo has recovered first and strongly.
      With regard to the devastated areas, Tokyo and Kanagawa (Yokohama) populated areas, were severely affected by the quake. The epicenter was located near Oshima Island in Sagami Bay, South of Tokyo. In Yokohama, 90 percent of all homes were damaged and destroyed. The 60 percent of the city’s population became homeless (Brown University).
     Concerning to the fire, the time which the earthquake hit was 11:58, so the families had prepared for their lunches. Many families’ cooking stoves were overturned by the quake and make fires. The fire spread out with strong winds.
     In respect of the rumors, the rumors, especially about Korean such as “Korean do criminal activities and make social confusions” make the disaster more political. The Home Ministry declared martial law and ordered all sectional police chiefs to make maintenance of order and security a top. After the disaster, the radio became popular all over Japan. This is because of the disaster’s lessons.
     Concerning to the recovery, Shinpei Goto, Mayor of Tokyo, created and proceeded a reconstruction plan of Tokyo for building back better. The basic infrastructures of today’s Tokyo were built during the time. 

*death numbers were revised after the recent research from over 140,000 to 105,000 because there were several double countings.

Day_107 : Italy-Recent earthquake and past earthquake disasters

The below is the outline of the earthquake disaster in Italy from ADRC.
“A magnitude 6.2 quake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), on 24 August 2016, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome, in central Italy. More than 70 people were killed in the earthquake.”

However, Reuters mentioned, “The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy climbed to 250 on Thursday as rescue teams scoured mounds of rubble for a second day in towns and villages flattened by the natural disaster.” on Friday, two days after the quake.

In addition, the source also added “Almost 200 of the victims died in Amatrice, which is famed for a local pasta dish and was full of holiday makers ahead of its 50th annual food festival, set for this weekend.”

Historically speaking, Italy has had a lot of earthquake disasters and caused huge numbers casualties. Italy has had 44 times earthquakes which caused over 1000 deaths since 1600. The interval is approx. 25 years. They happened mostly central and southern part of Italy around the Apennine mountains and caused huge casualties. One of the reasons why they had a large numbers of casualties is the stone-build houses.

Table 1 and Table 2 show the 1900-2016 top 10 deadliest and costliest disasters in Italy (EM-DAT).

Table 1  Totals deaths
Italy deadliest

Table 2  Total damage
Italy costliest disasters

Southern Italy had an earthquake (M6.9) in Campania (1980 Irpinia earthquake), the dead number is approx. 4700, damage is 20 billion USD. The 2009 L’Aquila earthquake (M6.3) occurred and caused approx.300 death and 2.5 billion USD damage. This earthquake became controversial because the scientists and government officers were sentenced 6 years in prison for their false announcement. The quality of construction also became the issues “Once again we are faced with the lack of control on the quality of construction” “In California, an earthquake like this one would not have killed a single person,” Franco Barberi, who heads a committee assessing earthquake risks at Italy’s Civil Protection agency, told reporters in L’Aquila (Reuters AlertNet) after the quake.

1908 Messina earthquake (M7.1) had caused the highest death number 75000 in Italian history since 1900.

Reuters said still now (26Aug.2016) “Italy has a poor record of rebuilding after quakes. About 8,300 people who were forced to leave their houses after a deadly earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009 are still living in temporary accommodation.”

Day_105 : Relocations or Rebuildings (2)


Day_94 : Relocations or Rebuildings (1) (Tentative)

After the 1896 Meiji sanriku tsunami, many communities considered relocating to higher grounds, however, a few communities could proceed the relocations. The main reasons why they could not relocate to higher grounds are the followings (Nakasu et al., 2011):

1) It was very inconvenient for them to settle the areas which were far from the sea because they were mainly fishermen or living their daily lives by the sea.

2) Most of them were doing small size fishing related businesses, had not enough budgets to relocate.

3) There were difficulties to attain the agreements to do relocations among the community members.

4) They, community members, had conflicts with land owners to select and purchase the relocation lands.

5) There were technical limitations to create a land for living on the slope because Japan did not have enough technological level at that time.

They mainly relocated to higher grounds by their own decisions. However, some groups gave pressures on the people who had planned to move and tried to let them give up to do so because they would like to maintain the communities to recover.

A small number of the communities moved to higher grounds, however, some went back to their original places. In addition, their relatives or other village people started to live there. Some families positively accepted the immigrants from outsides to maintain their ownerships.

Finally, almost all communities had chosen to rebuild at the same places, so the risks were retained and this combined with the fact that they were re-affected by the 1933 Showa sanriku tsunami disaster.

Concerning after the 1933 Showa sanriku tsunami, this will be explained later.