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Jakarta Post

Get ready for major disasters

  • Jonatan A. Lassa

Cambridge, MA   /   Thu, March 31 2011   /  08:00 am

Unknown to many, less than 15 percent of Japan’s coastal municipalities have produced tsunami hazard maps, according to a study in 2006 by Suganuma from the Science and Technology Foresight Center, Japan.

One of the most surprising findings from Suganuma was the evacuation behavior of Kesennuma Municipality during the 2003 Miyagi-ken-oki earthquake, where only 8 percent (of 3,000 respondents) were willing to evacuate; 85 percent did not want to evacuate (41 percent never intended to evacuate); and the rest joined the emergency response.

What we have seen from the visual media concerning the situation in Kesennuma is that the municipality was severely damaged by the tsunami. However, this has been recognized as a “backward” step compared to previous studies (thanks to longitudinal surveys — at least four surveys on disaster preparedness conducted by the government o...