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2014年8月22日 (金)

社説:広島の土砂災害 救援活動に全力挙げよ

August 21, 2014(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Landslide disaster shows need for better prevention measures
社説:広島の土砂災害 救援活動に全力挙げよ

Torrential rain has triggered a series of landslides in northern Hiroshima, crushing houses and leaving many residents dead and some others missing.

Police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel are desperately searching for and rescuing survivors. 警察や消防、自衛隊による救助・救援活動が急がれるが、

However, they must take care to prevent a secondary disaster as a firefighter lost his life during search and rescue operations.

The government should put its utmost efforts into restoring disaster-hit areas and extending assistance to affected residents.
Typhoon Halong, this year's 11th, brought heavy rain mainly to western Japan earlier this month.

A rain front hovering along the Japanese archipelago has since repeatedly brought rain and loosened the ground. その後も前線が日本列島上空に停滞し、度重なる雨で地盤は緩んでいる。

Therefore, even a small amount of rain could trigger a landslide, and maximum caution needs to be exercised.

In just over a three-hour period early on Aug. 20, northern Hiroshima saw rainfall that exceeded the average amount of rain that falls throughout all of August.

The Hiroshima Local Meteorological Observatory issued a warning of record-breaking rain over a short period around 3:45 a.m., and the Hiroshima Municipal Government issued an evacuation recommendation about half an hour later. 広島地方気象台は記録的短時間大雨情報を発表し、その約30分後に広島市が避難勧告を出した。

By that time, however, some landslides had already occurred and local residents had alerted emergency services. しかし、既に土砂崩れが発生し、住民からの通報が相次いでいた。

Therefore, the local government's response was too slow.

It is essential to thoroughly scrutinize why local authorities failed to issue an evacuation recommendation or order before the disaster occurred.

The landslides occurred in a district where mountains were developed into residential areas.

The ground in extensive areas of Hiroshima Prefecture is composed of decayed granite covered with thin surface soil. 広島県には風化した花こう岩の上を薄い表土が覆う地質が広がり、

Therefore, if rainwater accumulates in these areas, slopes are prone to collapsing.

In the latest disaster, it is believed that rain that had fallen over the past few weeks accumulated in the soil, making the ground fragile, and that a massive amount of rain that hit the area over a short period triggered mudslides.

In June 1999, torrential rain that hit residential areas in the city of Hiroshima and surrounding areas left 31 people dead and another missing.

Following the disaster, the Sediment-related Disaster Prevention Law was enacted.

In accordance with the legislation, prefectural governments are supposed to conduct a survey on areas prone to landslides and other sediment disasters and designate vulnerable locations as caution zones.

Municipal governments are required to work out evacuation plans and draw up maps clearly showing caution zones.

There are many areas prone to sediment disasters in Hiroshima Prefecture.

However, local bodies' efforts to ensure the safety of residents in vulnerable areas have made little progress as it takes a long time to conduct a detailed survey on disaster-prone locations.

The majority of areas hit by the latest landslides were not designated as caution zones.

Local governments should take flexible measures such as prioritizing the designation of high-risk locations as caution zones.

A nationwide survey conducted by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry shows that there are some 520,000 locations vulnerable to sediment disasters, but one-third of these have not been designated as caution zones.

This is attributable partly to local residents' resistance to the designation of their neighborhoods as such for fear that the value of their land would decline.

However, since landslides could cause huge damage, it is necessary to patiently explain the purpose of the law to residents of high-risk areas to convince them of the need for such warnings.

There have been a growing number of local downpours in recent years.

Any kind of serious natural disaster could hit anytime and anywhere in Japan where there are numerous mountains and rivers.

All local governments must work out disaster prevention measures based on a wide diversity of scenarios without being bound by stereotypes.

毎日新聞 2014年08月21日 02時33分


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