Notes: Reflections on the Tohoku Region Earthquake

I was once again looking through old files today when I found these notes in an old notebook. I think these are useful in light of the increasing tectonic activity observed in the Pacific Rim. These notes were taken during a talk given by Prof. Nobutaka Suzuki from the University of Tsukuba on Nov 19 2011 during the 3rd NCRTE at UP Diliman NISMED.

DISASTER has a natural component (trigger) and a man-made aspect (severity of the result).

1) The earthquake occurred at 2pm. Everyone was awake. No classes were ongoing because the EQ happened during the semestral break.

2) All buildings had just been renovated for disaster risk preparedness.

3) Had practiced an emergency drill four days before the earthquake hit.

Lesson:

MITIGATION & PREVENTIVE MEASURES are important.

The university has an important responsibility to protect both property and assets; economic, cultural, etc.

Student Safety

  • Safe Living Booklet for International Students

Contains information on a variety of topics including traffic, drinking, internet use, theft, drugs, mental health, stalking, harassment, and others. More importantly, also contains pointers on fire prevention and response as well as earthquake incident response.

  • To Be Familiar With Emergency Information

Student orientations are also conducted on topics such as: how to call the police, ambulance; how to use emergency phones; free health services; and face to face counseling services.

The university’s response after an earthquake in terms of student safety:

  1. immediate verification of student safety
  2. dissemination of detailed information about disaster (multilingual)
  3. special measures for immigration matters/info
  4. organizing night patrols around the campus

    Evacuation maps were posted on the entrance door of each room. The maps included safety rules and guidelines.

Suggestions:

  • Regular emergency drills need to be practiced.
  • Prompt system of international student services (multilingual) need to be in place.
  • Keep certain amount of relief goods on hand.
  • Provide international students with utmost level of safety.
  • Coordinate with students. Save Ibaraki was linked with the university website through the students’ initiative which complemented the preparedness shortcomings of the administration.
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