A year has passed since the first special issue on the development of disaster statistics was published in the Journal of Disaster Research. The Global Centre for Disaster Statistics (GCDS) at Tohoku University is steadily making progress as well. The GCDS now participates in Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitments (SFVC), which was launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). In addition, the GCDS has committed to publishing this special issue of the Journal of Disaster Research toward the development of disaster statistics. Needless to say, the publication of the special issue itself has a positive impact on accelerating research activity at the GCDS.
The guest editors are pleased to publish valuable academic articles that are closely related to the activities of the GCDS, thus contributing to the development of disaster statistics. In this second issue, there seem to be two main categories of research questions: “development of the existing disciplined-based research” and “analyzing various issues by means of questionnaire surveys.” Under the first category, by means of disaster statistics, two disciplines are covered: river engineering and international studies. The large number of studies based on questionnaire surveys act as an excellent reminder of the effectiveness of such a survey as a methodology for disaster statistics.
Last but not least, we hope that this second special issue on the development of disaster statistics will also contribute to the literature on disaster statistics and accelerate its development.
A year has passed since the first special issue on the development of disaster statistics was published in the Journal of Disaster Research. The attempt to improve and utilize disaster statistics throughout the world is still in progress, although it is steadily moving forward. Under such circumstances, the Global Centre for Disaster Statistics (GCDS) at Tohoku University has also made advances in this area. The Centre participates in the Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitments (SFVC) launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). This second special issue on the development of disaster statistics aims to publish the research results from the latest studies related to this topic. For the SFVC, the GCDS has committed to publishing this special issue of the Journal of Disaster Research towards the development of disaster statistics as for academic contributions. In addition, the publication of the special issue itself has a positive impact on the acceleration of research activity at the GCDS. In this issue, there seems to be two main categories of research questions; namely “development of the existing disciplined-based research,” and “analyzing various issues by means of questionnaire surveys.” Under the umbrella of the development of the existing disciplined-based research by means of disaster statistics, two disciplines are covered: river engineering, and international studies. The large number of studies based on questionnaire surveys acts as an excellent reminder of the effectiveness of a questionnaire survey when adopted as a methodology of disaster statistics. The guest editors hope that this second special issue on the development of disaster statistics would also contribute to the literature of disaster statistics and accelerate their development.
In this study, we collated the number of deaths caused by disasters that took place in the Chikugo River middle basin on the island of Kyushu, Japan, from the 1600s to 2017. The compilation of quantitative statistics of floods in Japan began in the modern era, while the statuses of previous disasters are described by vague indices and are thus difficult to quantify. In this study, we geographically restricted our investigation to the Chikugo River middle basin. We quantified the scale of each disaster by using the number of deaths recorded in historical documents. We then compared the disasters that took place in the area since the 1600s to identify the potential disaster risks harbored by our study area. During the period examined, the great famine from 1732 to 1733 was the greatest disaster and caused the most deaths. However, this is the only recorded famine for which fatalities were documented. Meanwhile, floods occurred frequently through this period, 26 of which resulted in fatalities: they had a total death toll of 292. Thus, famines occur infrequently but cause severe damage, whereas floods occur frequently but cause relatively minor damage. During the approximately 400 years examined, there were four floods with death tolls exceeding 30 people. Three of these occurred after 1868, when the modern era of Japan began. Meanwhile, there have been almost no small-scale floods during and after the modern era. By quantitatively assessing the disasters’ scales, we were able to establish that the 2017 northern Kyushu torrential rainfall was the fourth gravest water-related disaster, in terms of its death, toll since the 1600s. If only the north bank of the Chikugo River middle basin is considered, it was the greatest flood disaster to occur in this period.
This study aims to investigate the attitude within Asia-Pacific countries towards disaster risk reduction (DRR) through text mining of the official statements of the 2018 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The official statements can be considered as a proxy of the participating countries’ stances on DRR. As methodology, four different kinds of text mining techniques were adopted; namely, word frequency list, hierarchical cluster analysis, co-occurrence network, and correspondence analysis for the sake of quantitative content analysis. Consequently, the word frequency list showed that words such as “development (develop)” and “climate change” seemed to be distinctive of the conference focusing on DRR issues. The result of hierarchical cluster analysis seemed to imply that the participating countries, namely their governments, had appeared to be keen to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR) along with their national DRR policies and to connect DRR with their development, while climate change had not been directly linked to the SFDRR and was stated as another global issue closely related to DRR. Considering that the SFDRR is closely related to the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, the observation of these contrasting results of the text mining analysis is a noteworthy finding. The result is also consistent with that of the co-occurrence network. The result of the correspondence analysis implied that the statement announced by Japan had appeared to have a characteristic feature in comparison to other statements. One possible reason for this is that there was no explicit reference to climate change, while the countries faced with disasters caused by climate change, such as those in the Pacific Islands, tended to focus on it.
Panel data of individual firms are a valuable source of information on the disaster resilience of the regional economy. Such data also helps to assess the effectiveness of government aids to recovery. Every year after the Great East Japan Earthquake 2011, from 2012 to 2015, Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Economics and Management conducted the Tohoku University Earthquake Recovery Firm Survey (TERFS) to obtain such information. The survey collected 25,826 responses over the 4-year period from a total of 11,090 firms in the east Tohoku region, the most severely affected region. Based on this survey, this paper assesses the effects of the conventional and new government recovery aid measures introduced to help firms affected by the disaster on the levels of business activity. The paper finds that group subsidy and debt reduction had important roles in the recovery of business activities, and demonstrates the importance of a panel survey in understanding and guiding policies for the resilience of the regional economy.
This study aims to clarify the relation between preparedness status and the local natural resource conservation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are key actors in sustainable development and local disaster risk reduction. To ensure the quick recovery of business, SMEs are expected to formulate a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). However, the rate of formulation has thus far not been very high among SMEs. This study conducted a questionnaire survey in 2017 targeting SMEs in Sukagawa, Fukushima. We analyzed the 240 responses collected through a Multiple Correspondence Analysis and used Cramer’s coefficient of association to determine the strength of association. Major findings are as follows: 1) Environment-related indices were associated with both BCP formulation and business size, and these associations indicate the possibility of connecting environmental actions or management to BCP formulation. 2) In the association between BCP formulation status and environmental actions, the environmental management system had a stronger association than business size (capital, number of employees). 3) The group interested in the conservation of regulating services related to local natural resources (reducing CO2 emission, water quality, aquatic plants and animals) had a higher rate of BCP formulation. 4) This group considers mutual help more important than self-help or public help. 5) Capital and number of employees have a strong association with both BCP formulation status and their interest in participating in local natural resource conservation. Activities with local society and stakeholders may collectively increase SMEs’ awareness with neighbor enterprises or the local community. It would help both SMEs and local society to build a seamless attitude toward disaster risk reduction, which would contribute to local sustainability.
This study aimed to evaluate life in disaster reconstruction public housing, and structurally clarify the relationship between the impression of the reconstruction from the viewpoint of the sufferers’ sense of recovery and the residents’ internal satisfaction. The target area of the study was the earthquake disaster reconstruction public housing in the Tago Nishi area, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. The impression of the reconstruction, as expressed by people living in disaster recovery public housing, consists of an evaluation of external environments, such as the living environment and the working environment. Moreover, the impression of the reconstruction that is evaluated in the external environment is measured through a psychological evaluation, both before and after the restoration of the residence. Further, the impression of the reconstruction affects the satisfaction with life in the reconstruction public housing. This study quantitatively clarified this relationship as a model. The impression of the reconstruction was evaluated on the basis of three items – living environment, disaster threat, and work environment – which encompass the external environment of the residents. The results are as follows. The maintenance of the work environment was rendered an important factor to improve the impression of the reconstruction. As a result of measuring the differences between the seven psychological items before and after the earthquake, the prevalence of the feelings of “Anger/Joy,” “Depression/Bright,” and “Apathy/Willingness” made it clear that the monitoring of change in the area had a strong influence on the impression of the reconstruction. In addition, satisfaction with life, which makes up the residents’ internal environment, was evaluated using the following four items: Convenience, Comfort, Safety, and Community. The results made it evident that all four items had a strong influence on life satisfaction, and, among them comfort had the greatest influence.
The current study explores the possible relationship between livelihood disruptions and displacement intentions in the short and long term, following a volcanic eruption. Previous studies in a similar context suggest that livestock breeding and farming remain important to the affected population in terms of livelihood maintenance, even when eruptions severely interrupt these activities. Other research findings suggest people consider eruptions opportunities to improve income through increased crop cultivations. Previous studies have concluded that people prefer to return to agricultural and farming activities, even if eruptions significantly disturb them. Little research, however, quantitatively addresses the impact of eruptions on income or explores the relationship between livelihood disruption and relocation intention. To understand this relationship, we conducted a questionnaire survey of villagers in the Kediri and Blitar districts of Indonesia who received an evacuation order during the 2014 Mt. Kelud eruption. We collected and analyzed the data from 440 valid responses. One of our major findings supports earlier research findings vis-à-vis the association between agricultural losses and villagers’ decisions to relocate in the long term. Our data suggest that villagers with no relocation intention had experienced larger agricultural losses, thus suggesting that agricultural losses do not constitute a large factor affecting relocation intention. Likewise, we found there to be no statistically significant relationship between livestock damages/losses and displacement intentions. These findings suggest the importance of further research into causal relationships among economic loss, farming damages and losses, and displacement intentions.
In this study, recent perceptions of volcanic hazard-related information in Japan were investigated through an Internet questionnaire survey administered via the Internet following the 2018 volcanic eruption at Kusatsu-Shirane. The survey was focused on the change in perceptions over the course of two years, following after a 2016 survey. Additional perceptions were investigated, such as the respondents’ perceptions of eruption predictability and acceptance of uncertainty. The results of 2018 survey indicated that interest in volcanoes led to greater disaster and evacuation awareness compared with those of the 2016 survey, excessive expectations for eruption predictability decreased from 2016 to 2018. One-half of the respondents considered active information openness from experts to be of a high priority and accepted the uncertainty of hazard information.
Using the case study of the Russian Central Federal District, this paper analyzes the degrees of satisfaction among citizens regarding the support and compensation as prescribed by the Chernobyl Act, and their desire for this support to continue. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Chernobyl Act named the State as being responsible for compensation of damages and provided that liquidators and refugees could receive support. Using a questionnaire survey, citizens’ levels of satisfaction concerning this support, as well as the speed of response to the nuclear accident, the information provided by the government, the decontamination of heavily polluted forests, and the compensation for liquidators were evaluated. The results found that support measures regarded as necessary for the reconstruction of affected areas and development of society and economy were the continued observations of the health status of the affected people, and continued pollution control. The degree of satisfaction among women and those with children, who are given preferential treatment under the Chernobyl Act, was high in regard to the Russian government’s response to the accident. Conversely, there are many who feel negatively about the provision of company housing and housing to citizens as prescribed under the law. Overall, 80% of the respondents wanted to continue support for the victims, particularly those with children, and desired to continue support such as migration rights, the early receipt of pensions, and the provision of free medicines, but many did not want preferential treatment regarding rent subsidies. Citizen satisfaction was generally high concerning the support and compensation as defined by the Chernobyl Act. However, there were also negative opinions regarding the preferential treatments prescribed by law, and it is necessary to consider these measures when formulating laws to protect victims in the future.
Classical swine fever (CSF, hog cholera) has reemerged in Japan after 26 years and affected domestic pigs and wild boars. CSF was reported in Gifu prefecture on September 2018. Approximately 90,000 breeding domestic pigs were sacrificed by farmers of Gifu and Aichi prefectures to prevent expansion of CSF outbreak. In mid September 2019, CSF outbreaks have occurred in 8 prefectures in central Japan. African swine fever (ASF) is another viral infectious disease that affects domestic pigs and wild boars, although the etiologic agent is different from that of CSF. Both CSF and ASF affect pig farmers because of their intense infectivity to domesticated pigs. Fortunately, the causative agents are not pathogenic to human. However, an enteric bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Choleraesuis is pathogenic to pigs and humans. As Salmonella Choleraesuis causes food poisoning in humans, the infection is monitored by “Food Sanitation Law” in Japan. CSF, ASF, and Salmonella enterica serovar Choleraesuis salmonellosis are translated in Japanese as “ton-korera,” “afurika ton-korera,” and “buta-korera,” respectively, wherein “ton” and “buta” both mean pig or hog. Therefore the above Japanese words mean hog cholera.
During the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, the medical team’s responses in Iwate Prefecture Disaster Emergency Operations Center experienced various difficulties, especially during the first 9 days. In this paper, we propose to objectively reveal problems of response activities from the viewpoint of operational information processing by the After Action Review, focusing on the activity logs in the time series (chronologies). By using Essential Elements of Information (EEI) as a framework of our analysis, we clarified the gap between the task that should be performed and the actual conditions in the operation of Japan Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), from the hyperacute phase to the subacute phase of medial responses.