« 50年後も1億人 大胆な少子化対策へ舵を切れ | トップページ | ナイジェリア 拉致された女生徒救出を願う »

2014年5月16日 (金)

避難勧告発令 市町村は「空振り」を恐れずに

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:18 pm, May 14, 2014
Local govts should not hesitate to issue evacuation warnings
避難勧告発令 市町村は「空振り」を恐れずに

Delays in issuing an evacuation advisory and directive if there is imminent danger of a natural disaster could lead to irrevocable consequences. City, town and village governments should not hesitate to issue such warnings before it is too late.

The evacuation advisory is intended to encourage residents to move to a safe location if there is a possibility of a disaster, while the evacuation directive is to be issued if residents face imminent danger from a disaster.

The Cabinet Office has revised its evacuation guidelines for the first time in nine years.

The basic principle of the new guidelines is that local governments are being urged to issue evacuation advisories or directives within an appropriate time frame without fear that a warning was made needlessly should no damage occur.

We find the new guidelines to be reasonable in that they are designed, first and foremost, to secure the safety of residents.

The motive for the Cabinet Office’s decision to reconsider its old guidelines was the disaster caused by a typhoon-triggered avalanche of rocks and earth on Tokyo’s Izu-Oshima island in October. An evacuation advisory was never issued, and 39 people either died or are still missing.

In some previous cases, city, town and village governments hesitated to issue evacuation warnings, fearing they would be criticized by local residents if their warning proved to be a false alarm. We hope the Cabinet Office’s move to revise its guidelines will do much to prevent disaster damage due to delays in issuing evacuation calls.

There are concerns that if local residents see a succession of cases in which an early evacuation advisory or directive turns out to be unnecessary, they would stop responding to such warnings and refuse to evacuate.

With this in mind, local governments should explain to residents about the importance of issuing early warnings and gain their support, even if no damage from a disaster occurs.

We believe the revised guidelines should deserve praise in that they incorporate a clear yardstick by which an evacuation advisory or directive should be issued. This is in contrast to previous ones, which critics say were ambiguously phrased and not easy to understand.

Timeline mapped out

The new guidelines are specific in providing the timing for issuing an evacuation advisory. For instance, the guidelines cite such cases as “if a river rises to a dangerous level” at a time when flood damage is feared. In case of landslide damage, the guidelines state a similar warning should be issued “if the pertinent authorities have released alerts and relevant information.”

The revised guidelines also include detailed instructions to be followed under the disaster management systems operated by city, town and village governments. For example, the guidelines say “the chief of each local government must report for work at his or her office” if a heavy rain warning has been issued. The guidelines also state “all staff responsible for disaster management must report to work at their offices” if a landslide warning has been issued.

However, it is disturbing to realize that a considerable number of local governments have been slow to take measures to address the problem. This is evident in a finding confirmed by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, an affiliate of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

About 20 percent of local governments whose areas are prone to flooding, landslide or tsunami damage have not created a yardstick for issuing evacuation warnings, even under the old guidelines. Meanwhile, the lack of such efforts are apparent in close to 40 percent of local governments whose regions could be hit by flooding caused by high tides combined with heavy winds, according to the agency.

The Cabinet Office has urged city, town and village governments to reexamine their criteria for issuing evacuation warnings by the end of the next fiscal year based on its new guidelines. There is no telling when a natural disaster will strike. We hope local governments will quickly work to create criteria appropriate for their areas’ geographical features and the distribution of their residents.

It is also important for individual residents to raise their disaster preparedness levels—a task essential for protecting their own lives. Every member of the public needs to check for possible disaster hazards in their neighborhood, while also making sure of where to evacuate to if an evacuation advisory or directive has been issued.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 14, 2014)


« 50年後も1億人 大胆な少子化対策へ舵を切れ | トップページ | ナイジェリア 拉致された女生徒救出を願う »





« 50年後も1億人 大胆な少子化対策へ舵を切れ | トップページ | ナイジェリア 拉致された女生徒救出を願う »