Improving the nation’s resilience to disasters
As summed up by the choice of sai (meaning disaster) as the kanji of the year, Japan experienced a string of severe natural disasters last summer, ranging from big earthquakes in Osaka and Hokkaido to torrential rains that caused landslides and floods over broad areas of western Japan, a powerful typhoon that paralyzed Kansai International Airport and what was called a “disaster-level” heat wave that killed dozens of people across the country.
The government recently compiled an emergency three-year program worth ¥7 trillion to fix vulnerabilities in key infrastructure such as river embankments, roads and bridges, airports and power facilities to make them more resilient…
Natural disasters are no longer exceptional, so what will it take to prioritize preparedness?
In the last two years, over 230,000 Canadians have registered with the Canadian Red Cross for assistance following emergencies ranging from house fires to severe weather events. Most people don’t expect a flood, fire, tornado or ice storm to damage their home or devastate their community. These events happen to “someone else.” But the reality is that severe weather events, exacerbated by climate change, are increasingly common at home and abroad.
In the latter half of this year alone, Hurricane Florence struck the southeastern United States, Typhoon Mangkhut flattened parts of the Philippines, and earthquakes and a devastating tsunami killed more than 2,000 people in Indonesia. Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Willa slammed into Mexico and wildfires caused extensive damage in California. In Canada, wildfires burned again in B.C. and Alberta, tornados swept through the Ottawa and Gatineau regions, and powerful storms hit the east coast. Many people had to evacuate their homes; some are still unable to return….