An international meeting on disaster management held this week in Sendai, where last year’s quake and tsunami hit hardest, discussed new ways of reducing damage and save lives when natural disasters strike.
One of the things that proved to be important, even if little attention was given to it beforehand, was that disaster-evacuation planning had largely been carried out by men, which meant “many women faced difficulties living in emergency shelters because there had been little input from women”.
The statement was made by Tatsuo Hirano, All Japan news’s reconstruction minister, who was present at the event. Hirano noticed also that the warning system, which was prepared to focus on speed rather than accuracy, failed.
“The tsunami warning predicted the height of the tsunami as three meters, but the actual tsunami measured nearly 20 meters in some places, easily overcoming defences,” he said.
With the occasion of the event, where local authorities as well as representatives of the IMF and the World Bank took part, local residents expressed concern that reconstruction progresses too slow.
“I feel like our community is far from being reconstructed,” a 58-year-old Sendai resident told AFP, without giving her name for fear she would anger local officials. “The support measures (the authorities) offer are too little, so we constantly worry about our future,” she said.