Japan is a natural disaster-prone country where earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, among others can occur. It is important to gather proper information and be prepared to natural disasters before they happen.
In Shima city (Mie Prefecture) a disaster prevention seminar has been held focusing on foreign residents. People participating the seminar have learned important information about disaster prevention, emergency food, how to prepare an emergency toilet and other advices.
One of the important points discussed during the seminar was the emergency shelters.
Do you know what is the meaning of “hinanjo” (emergency shelter) and in which situation we should use it?
Interview 1 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“In the event of a natural disaster, even if your home is damaged or not, there are temporary housing facilities for those who lost their houses, because they can run out of food and water. At these temporary facilities water, food, blankets and other supplies will be provided and it will be possible for you to set up at the location.”
In each city, there are several locations designed as emergency shelters. Each prefecture and municipal organization provide information on emergency shelters and it is very important to know in advance where the nearest one is located in the event of a natural disaster.
Interview 2 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“In Shima city, there is the hazard map, handed out by city office. People worried or unable to go to city office can have this map by downloading it through the homepage”.
But, if we are away from home and need to know where the emergency shelter is located, how we should proceed?
Interview 3 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor.
“Since there are bulletin boards and signs indicating the location of emergency shelters set up in light poles or places that they can be seen easily, you can look for them and follow as indicated, or observe people’s flow from these places and follow the ones who already took shelter or ask them about the location of emergency shelters”.
Even if you go to an emergency shelter it does not mean everything will be provided. It is important everyone prepares the necessary items in advance. If there is the need to go to an emergency shelter, take the emergency supplies with you. But, which items and emergency stock we should take to an emergency shelter?
Interview 4 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“Keeping in mind the importance of the items for surviving and that not everything will be provided at emergency shelters, it is important to prepare food, clothes and blankets, if it is possible, for about 3 days, the minimum necessary, and you should not keep unnecessary stuff. In addition to it, it is necessary to prepare special items such as medicine, glasses, diapers and milk for small children because there is the possibility all that will not be provided in emergency situations. Besides, I find it is always important to carry portable radios to be updated, flashlight and others.”
Inside an emergency shelter we will have to share the place with several people at the same time. In this case, it is important the cooperation with each other. You must respect the shelter’s rules and foreign nationals can help other residents through translations and others. Therefore, although there is food at emergency shelters, if a massive natural disaster strikes, there is the possibility of a delay in the provision supply.
Interview 5 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“Even for Japanese nationals, there are cases in which it will not be possible to provide proper treatment and enough food due to the highly chaotic situation emerging soon after a natural disaster, thus I ask the comprehension of everyone. Regarding the organization during evacuation process, as in principle people seeking to take shelter should do it voluntarily, I ask everyone to cooperate actively. I hope everyone respects the rules during the evacuation procedure.
In addition to it, we will ask foreigners to help with translations to other foreigners and instruct them about the costumes of the country and other kind of help. We humbly ask the cooperation of everyone.”
The emergency shelters are not only places where it will be possible to receive food and information, but they are also places to protect your family.
Interview 6 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“In case your house is no longer in condition to live in due to a natural disaster, the emergency shelters serve as places for temporary housing, and they are also an important place to meet members of your family if you lost contact with them. In addition to it, it is possible to have food, materials for surviving and information. It is also important to confirm the routes from this location, from your house or workplace for emergency situations.”
Before a natural disaster occurs, it is important to discuss among family members about disaster prevention measures, such as where to have shelter, how to contact people, what are the necessary items, among others. Each prefecture and municipal organization provide information regarding disaster prevention. In order to prepare for a disaster, join drills or seminars on disaster prevention when possible.
Interview 7 – Mr. Masa Yabuki, meteorologist, disaster prevention official and disaster prevention technique instructor
“Since there are things we are not able to deal with in emergency situations, I ask everyone to be prepared to minimize the situation as best as possible. Japan is affected by many natural disasters, so I ask everyone to be prepared and join drills to protect yourself, your family and minimize the damage.”
In the text below the video we will leave links containing information about emergency shelters. Gather your family and discuss about what you have learned by watching the video.
Mie Hazard Map – http://www.pref.mie.lg.jp/D1BOUSAI/75148007862.htm
Bosai Mie.jp – http://www.bosaimie.jp/
About the Nankai Trough Earthquake – https://mieinfo.com/en/highlights/nankai-trough-earthquake/index.html
Training on the procedures in the case of Natural Disasters aiming foreign citizens – https://mieinfo.com/en/videos-en/prevention-of-natural-disasters/training-on-the-procedures-in-the-case-of-natural-disasters-aiming-foreign-citizens/index.html