Local Government Profile
"“We believe we must share our experiences both home and abroad in order to help build a safer society.” “Large-scale disasters put people all over the world in danger, and we believe that our role must be to develop disaster management experts.” “The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 1995 was the first vertical thrust earthquake to strike an urban society with an aging population. Above all, we learned about the importance of five things: disaster preparedness, initial responses, connections between disaster management organizations, community preparedness, and disaster-resilient society building.” “When the earthquake in 1995 occurred, as many as 80% of the survivors from collapsed houses were saved by their neighbors, reinforcing the importance of neighbors helping each other. Our efforts to make Hyogo a global model for disaster preparedness continue with comprehensive measures to enhance the disaster management capacities of local communities.” “Hyogo will always remember the lessons of the earthquake and continue to promote disaster management measures. In realizing a safe and secure community we have achieved a “creative reconstruction” tailored to a mature society. It is our intention to handle disasters as they change with the expansion of cities and the aging of populations, while dealing with issues that have yet to be solved.”"
Hazard and vulnerability profile
Major disasters that have occurred in the past
Among disasters occurred in Hyogo, the following are the ones with the largest amounts of human suffering.
1. Southern Hyogo Earthquake （January 1995）
2. Heavy rain caused by the seasonal rain front (July 1938)
3. Typhoon Muroto (September 1934)
Prevailing hazards and vulnerable conditions
Examining previous disaster occurrences, major disasters expected to occur in Hyogo are as follows:
1. Flooding incurred by heavy rain due to the seasonal rain front and typhoons
2. Landslide disasters in mountainous areas including Mt. Rokko
3. Earthquakes originating from the Yamazaki Fault and the Nankai Trough.
Disaster Risk Reduction Activities
Through periodically reassessing earthquake damage estimate, the prefecture is aware of the latest disaster risks and translates them into disaster management and mitigation measures.
In addition, the prefecture developed the Phoenix Disaster Management System so as to boost its disaster preparedness. The system can predict the extent of disaster damage on the basis of information collected from local terminals installed in disaster management agencies as well as seismometers located throughout the prefecture, enabling estimates of the demand and supply of people and goods required for an initial emergency response. All information gathered at the system are shared with local outposts.
Role Model in Comprehensive Disaster Risk Governance
＜Disaster risk management system in Hyogo Prefecture＞
The prefecture established the Superintendent of Emergency Management post to be the chief officer in the risk management to assist governor. The department he oversees includes the Disaster Management and Planning Bureau and Disaster Response Bureau comprising of approx. 80 personnel, engaged in disaster preparedness enhancement, disaster response, restoration and reconstruction and so forth.
The respective roles of each bureau are clearly stated in the local disaster management plan, which was drawn up based on the Disaster Countermeasure Basic Act. All departments involved in disaster management fully recognize their roles and contribution to disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
＜Partnership with citizen groups＞
Hyogo Prefecture has established the Hyogo Safety Day Promotion Committee inviting Hyogo-based groups from all strata of society to join in. The Hyogo disaster management special promoter system was set up to dispatch experts in the field of disaster management to local residents’ associations and schools. The committee is endeavoring to raise people’s awareness towards disaster preparedness.
＜Budget assigned for disaster risk reduction＞
The prefecture secures a budget both for construction and programs such as developing rivers and coastal areas, and maintaining the disaster management information system as well as the disaster-relief system.
＜Incentives for citizens for disaster mitigation＞
Subsidies are granted to those citizens wishing to upgrade the earthquake resistance of their homes and to activities to raise citizens awareness toward disaster preparedness, including disaster drills.
＜Building infrastructure for enhancing disaster preparedness＞
River development projects are undertaken with the assumption of a heavy rain level that occurs once every one to five decades. The River Improvement Plan Review Committee established in conformity with the River Law conducts adequate analysis on disaster risk management.
In order to counteract floods triggered by an unconventional type of natural disaster in the area such as a guerilla rain or sudden local downpour, flood control measures for improving channels such as broadening rivers and elevating embankments, are now underway. At the same time, flood-controlling reservoirs for temporarily storing precipitation and facilities to enable rainfall to readily permeate the ground are being built. In addition, efforts are made to perfect its flood and storm surge control measures by establishing drainage pumping stations where deemed necessary.
＜Understanding the percentage of earthquake-proofing in school buildings＞
The prefecture periodically checks the up-to-date earthquake-resistance application against current schools and medical facilities, and is carefully following a plan to boost the earthquake-proof rate.
The percentage of earthquake-proofing among public elementary and junior high schools: 73.9%
*As of April, 2010
＜Securing safety through building confirmation＞
Building confirmation based on the Building Standards Act ensures buildings are built in conformity with the Act. While at the same time, the prefecture coordinates with municipalities on municipal urban planning, and disaster management measures. Further, by developing public housing systematically, it provides safety for citizens’ homes including those of low-income households.
＜Basic policy in land use＞
The Hyogo Land Use Plan was drawn up based on the National Land Use Planning Act under which various functions of society are properly located; disaster management bases are created, open spaces in need of reconstruction and restoration purposes and to prevent damage from further spreading are reserved, securing multiple sources and ways of providing utilities, integrated management of water systems, management and preservation of farm lands, and improvement of land preservation function forests hold, etc. At each layer of the prefecture, from communities to the prefecture-wide, the policy aims to comprehensively boost the safety of prefectural land. With these in mind, the prefectural policies are enforced.
＜Emergency drills held at schools＞
More than once a year, evacuation drills are held with the assumption of earthquake or fire disaster occurrences at all of elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture. At schools, disaster management supplementary materials compiled by the Hyogo Board of Education are used in disaster preparedness classes as a part of school curriculum.
〔Rate of emergency drills held at schools〕
＜Status of emergency drills held at communities＞
At local communities, voluntary disaster response organizations play an integral role in emergency drills including information collection and communication, fire extinguishing, rescue activities, evacuation, meal and water provision, etc.
Holding emergency drills at local communities is recommended in the Hyogo Disaster Management Action 2010-2014, a program advocated by the Hyogo Safety Day Promotion Committee established by the prefecture with the partnership with Hyogo-based groups from all walks of the society. Under the plan, such activities are supported by subsidies and sending experts.
〔Rate of emergency drills by volunteer disaster management organizations〕
＜Flood control measures by making use of nature＞
The prefecture undertakes flood control measures by improving rivers with the assumption of a heavy rain level that occur once every one to five decades.
Our basic philosophy lies on the foundation of river improvement efforts. These efforts include to making rivers safe and sound, maintaining rivers so that people can feel the abundance of nature, developing rivers that incorporate characteristics of basins and the culture that revolves around water, and fully bringing out the attractions and comfortableness of riversides. We not only aim to expand the disaster management function against floods, but to let people fully enjoy the blessings of nature by adopting a construction method while at the same time preserving the biodiversity in the areas.
＜Storm Surge Measures incorporating Natural Features＞
The prefecture is taking measures against storm surges by developing coastal areas that can withstand the highest sea levels in the past.
For the development of coastal areas as well, we keep in mind not only to maximize the disaster management function that can counteract storm surge, but also to preserve biodiversity by adopting a construction method, which can bring out the blessings of nature to people.
＜Introduction of early warning system＞
The prefecture has introduced an emergency earthquake alert system. In addition, the Hyogo Disaster Net is in service to dispatch information to Hyogo citizens concerning earthquake, tsunami, weather bulletin, evacuation advisory and order, utilizing e-mail function of cell phones.
Another system, the Phoenix Disaster Management System is in operation to collect disaster information from terminals installed in disaster management agencies, predict earthquake damage using information from seismometers installed throughout Hyogo, and estimate demand and supply of people and goods required for initial emergency response.
＜Preparation of disaster response manuals＞
The local disaster management plan, developed under the Disaster Countermeasure Basic Act, specify how the Prefectural Government should contact and call its officials when a disaster occurs, how initial responders should be organized and what they should do. Manuals for Emergency Relief Headquarters that will be established in case of a disaster are also available.
Even between disasters, a 24-hour monitoring and quick-response system is maintained by means of a duty rotation system as well as a standby system with officers residing in standby accommodations. Designated officers standing by in anticipation of the occurrence of a disaster or other emergency can take quick response when any one of the warnings for heavy rain, flood, high tide or heavy snow are issued. In this way, Hyogo prepares for emergencies including disasters.
Approx. 80 officials at the Disaster Management and Planning Bureau and the Disaster Response Bureau take part in Disaster Imaging Game twice a year. Also, approximately 50 regular personnel residing in the standby accommodation take part in emergency drills four times a year.
＜Establishment and execution of reconstruction plans＞
With the aim of accomplishing creative reconstruction after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in January 1995, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Reconstruction Plan (period: 1995 – 2005; budget: 17 trillion yen) was formulated and executed with the collaboration of public administration and local residents. Initiatives for reconstruction that belonged to the three categories to support the life quality restoration of disaster victims, that is, housing, infrastructure and industry, were especially focused on under the Priority Three-Year Plans with the goal of achieving the pre-quake level.
＜Reflecting on the disaster victims’ opinions＞
Although the reconstruction of the affected areas was going on through the Reconstruction Plan and other measures, not a few disaster victims had worries, being unable to find hope for their future reconstruction of livelihoods, even of the next day. Under this recognition, the Hyogo Forum for Advocating Individual Recovery started six months after the Earthquake in order to conduct objective and integrated examination of challenges to overcome in order to restore the means of livelihood of the disaster victims, and to deliver proposals toward that purpose.
To grasp the victims’ status and challenges necessary for the reconstruction of their livelihoods, members of the Forum often visited affected areas and exchanged opinions with disaster victims and their supporters.
＜Urban redevelopment support project＞
In affected areas, formation of local community groups was encouraged to achieve urban redevelopment with the commitment of the local residents themselves. Such groups played a primary role in urban redevelopment. Hyogo Prefecture promoted the Urban Redevelopment Support Project to dispatch advisors and consultants to such groups and to support urban redevelopment activities of them.
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