Day_89 : Disaster Recovery Theory (1)

First, the theoretical examination’s concept is explained and two disaster recovery theories are introduced. Second, the first theory is explained and studied. Third, the second theory is explained and examined.

The concept is explained as follows:

The concept

Figure1 1: Disaster Recovery Concept

The following are the two disaster recovery theories used for this study.
Theoretical framework 1
Disasters contribute to change, they do so primarily by accelerating trends that are already underway prior to impact (Bates et al., 1963; Bates, 1982; Bates and Peacock, 1993; Haas et al., 1977).

2) Theoretical framework 2
The disaster Process is influenced by
① Devoted aid volume from outside society
② Disaster scale
Community Strength (Social System Strength) (Hirose, 1982)

The first theory is confirmed by some cases. You can see the following figures: the Kanto earthquake, Fukui earthquake, Typhoon Isewan in Japan, and Hurricane Katrina in US.
Figure 2: Disaster Recoveries in Japan

Figure 3: The Disaster Recovery from Hurricane Katrina in US.

To be continued…

This is  the presentation summary. The presentation was made in 2011, after the tsunami in Japan.

Day_195 : Scientists and Disaster Management Controversy issues with a L’Aquila Earthquake Case

The L’Aquila earthquake, which struck the Abruzzo region of Italy on April 6, 2009, was a significant case study for both scientists and disaster risk management professionals for several reasons. With a magnitude of 6.3, this earthquake caused extensive damage to the medieval city of L’Aquila, resulting in the deaths of more than 300 people, injuring over a thousand, and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. Beyond the immediate physical damage and tragic loss of life, the L’Aquila earthquake raised important issues related to earthquake prediction, risk communication, and the responsibilities of scientists and authorities in disaster risk management.

Scientific Aspects and Controversies

The occurrence of earthquakes sparked a controversial debate over the ability to predict earthquakes and the communication of seismic risks to the public. Before the earthquake, a series of tremors were felt in the region, leading to heightened public concern. A week before the major earthquake, a meeting of the Major Risks Committee, which included government officials and scientists, was held to assess the situation. The committee concluded that it was not possible to predict whether a stronger earthquake would occur but reassured the public, suggesting a low likelihood of a major event. Unfortunately, the devastating earthquake struck shortly thereafter.

This situation has led to significant controversy, particularly regarding the role and communication strategies of scientists and government officials in disaster risk management. Critics argued that reassurances were misleading and contributed to a false sense of security among the population.

Legal and Ethical Issues

In a highly controversial decision, six Italian scientists and one government official were initially found guilty of manslaughter in 2012 for underestimating the risks and failing to adequately warn the population. This verdict was widely criticized by the international scientific community, which argued that it was unreasonable to expect scientists to accurately predict earthquakes. The verdict was largely overturned in 2014, with the convictions of scientists being annulled and the sentence of the government official being reduced.

Disaster Risk Management Implications

The L’Aquila earthquake underscored the importance of effective disaster-risk management and communication strategies. Key lessons include:

  1. Communication of Uncertainty: It highlighted the need for clear communication of scientific uncertainty to the public. Conveying the inherent uncertainties in earthquake prediction is crucial for helping individuals and communities make informed decisions about risk reduction and preparedness.
  2. Public Education and Preparedness: The tragedy reinforced the need for ongoing public education on disaster preparedness and the importance of building earthquake-resilient communities.
  3. Building Codes and Urban Planning: Ensuring strict adherence to earthquake-resistant building codes and urban planning practices is vital in reducing the vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure.
  4. Multi-disciplinary Approach: The event demonstrated the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach that includes not only seismologists but also engineers, urban planners, emergency management professionals, and policymakers in disaster risk management planning and response.
  5. Ethical Responsibilities: The aftermath raised questions about the ethical responsibilities of scientists and the balance between preventing public panic and ensuring preparedness.

The L’Aquila earthquake remains a case study of the complex interplay among science, policy, ethics, and public communication in the context of natural disaster risk management.

Day_170 : The methodology of the Research on the communities and workers sustainability in the industrial complex area affected by the 2011 Chao Phraya Flood  

Basically, we proceed with a top-down process for the research. The followings are the outlines of the procedures for the surveys: 1) Rojana Industrial Park and Japanese companies and their responsible persons 2) Communities: Community leaders, employees, and critical facilities and their responsible persons.

1) Rojana Industrial Park and Japanese companies and their responsible persons
The followings are the reasons why Japanese companies and why Rojana Industrial Park in the central region of Thailand are selected for the project. The first, 451 of 804 inundated companies in the central region of Thailand caused by the 2011 flood were Japanese related (Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., 2011). The second, the Rojana Industrial Park, is one of the seven inundated industrial parks in the central region of Thailand. Rojana Industrial Park is also deeply related to the Japanese company because Rojana Industrial Park was established as a joint venture between Japanese (Nippon Steel & Sumikin Bussan Corporation) and Thai (Vinichbutr’s Group) companies in 1983. The Japanese target companies are mainly selected through the connections with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Bangkok and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The responsible persons are chosen totally up to the companies. The representative Japanese and Thai managers and persons in charge of BCP or risk management of the companies are chosen to meet our needs. We conduct focus group interviews and questionnaire surveys for the above persons and employees in the companies. Questionnaires are distributed and collected in the box in the canteen of the companies.

2) Communities: Community leaders, employees, and critical facilities and their responsible persons
A top-down approach in data collection is applied by gaining the necessary authorization from the senior-level officials such as Chief of DDPM Ayutthaya and Chief district office, which subsequently facilitated reaching out to Tambon and Mooban leaders through the District office. This approach proved useful in establishing the proper and assured contacts to conduct the surveys in the target area.

Firstly, we ask permission to do surveys from the Ayutthaya governor and the chief of the DDPM Ayutthaya office. Second, we are introduced to meet the target Amphoe Uthai chief and ask him to communicate with the four target Tambon leaders. Third, we asl Tambon leaders to introduce the thirty-five Muban leaders and also the persons in critical facilities in the area. After the process, we conduct the employees’ surveys. The target persons, 400, are randomly selected with the recognition of the Muban leaders based on the Yamane formula. We also proceed with the interview surveys to our prioritized twenty-five critical facilities acknowledged by the Tambon and Muban leaders. The representatives or the persons in charge of risk management in the critical facilities are required to answer the questions.

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, 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 with 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 the starting point of the center. The center is also well known as the location where was planned to build the imperial general headquarters 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 well 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 it, but you can ask NIED DIL for information.

Published on April 5, 2010

Matsushiro Seismological Observatory

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.



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.