DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT IN CHINA AND JAPAN

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Disaster has always been very rampant in the world from ancient ages to modern age. Disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes of the earth; like floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other geologic processes. In recent years, frequent natural disasters have caused enormous loss of life and property, and such disasters have become a common challenge to all countries. China and Japan are among the world’s most affected countries by disasters.

Disaster Risk Management is the systematic process that integrates risk identification, mitigation and transfer, as well as disaster preparedness, emergency response and rehabilitation or reconstruction to lessen the impacts of hazards. (Study on Disaster Risk Management and Environment for the Karamojasubregion, Magunda, M.K. (PhD). August 2010.)

In this long essay, the various disasters in these two countries and its effects on the citizens of the countries are examined; also examined are the strategies these countries have taken to reduce the rate of the disasters. The study investigated the various disaster risk managementTechniques these countries have employed over the years.

It focused on the country’s main practices in natural disaster risk management from the perspectives of preparing the plans, constructing legal systems, risk investigation, monitoring and early warning, disaster reduction projects, risk assessment, disaster insurance, community-based disaster reduction, and international cooperation.

The work outlined the priority areas of their natural disaster risk management in the future and stressed the importance of stronger inter-linkages among disaster risk management, recovery and long-term development planning and call for more coordinated and comprehensive strategies that integrate disaster risk management. This essay discussed how disaster risk management is a concern for everyone; from citizens who must be empowered to make decisions which reduce risk; to political leaders, government institutions, the private sector, civil society organisations, professional bodies and scientific and technical institutions.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The rate at which natural disasters sweep up communities is alarming. Though the magnitude varies with location, but the worst hit are China and Japan. Over the decades, the number of casualties has been massive. It is therefore of extreme importance to cushion the adverse effect of such natural disasters and to manage subsequent occurrences and to improve our knowledge on the strategies and challenges of the disaster risk managers are facing. It is of utmost importance that we know the areas frequently affected by these disasters and what efforts government of these two great nations are making to reduce future occurrence and also to assist those living and investing there. This study would enable us know the extent of the wreck disaster has caused on the country’s economy, social, and political relation with the international community.

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study can be simplified as follows:

*        Assessment of environmental change as a parameter of disaster risk in the countries.

*        Assessment of environmental causes and the associated consequences.

*        The review of current approaches to disaster management

*         To ascertain the role of the community in total disaster risk management.

*        To review the importance of disaster risk management.

*        Recommendations for short and long-term disaster risk management / reduction options for the countries.

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research work intends to answer the following research questions:

* What effect do these disasters have on the development of these nations?

* What measures is the international community taking to assist these nations?

* Considering the massive land involved in the disaster, what are the effects on foreign and local investors?

* What are the challenges the disaster risk management have on the citizens of affected areas?

1.5       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

For the purpose of this research work, I shall focus on the management of natural disasters in China and Japan only and not the whole of the Asian continent. China and Japan are complex and dynamic societies, with overwhelming and increasing problems with disaster risk in the vulnerable urban communities in and around its rapidly growing metropolitan centres. The various kinds of natural disasters in which the areas are prone to. The effects of these occurrences on the people and corporate bodies of these two nations, and the mitigation steps taken by government to alleviate the effects of the disasters on the victims. This paper will look at the complexity of vulnerability and resilience in disaster risk management.

1.6       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This work found out more about the strategies these two nations have used and are still using to curb and also to fight disasters in their countries.  Also, to know the effect of this disaster on foreign direct investment in these nations if not managed well.  This paper will help the policy makers in these nations in identifying common problems with data collection at all stages of disaster risk management, especially in disaster response and recovery, learning what use can be made of disaster response case studies in future planning. It also will help improve the understanding of the challenges for disaster risk reduction in such communities.

1.7       LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study is based on information gathered from articles from newspapers and TV channels, journals of past researchers, government corporate reports on the strategies used in managing various past disasters, internet sources, archives, etc., but the study would have been more effective if the research was carried out in any of  these countries. Also the information gathered can’t be said to be externally valid due to the fact that most of the information are from insiders who will not want to speak negatively of their country. As a result of these limitations this essay relied on books, journals and article written by scholars who are expert in this field and have provided based on their research methods with which these disasters can be managed.

1.8       RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. This research work made use of secondary data obtained from books written on disaster risks management and reductions, articles from newspapers and TV channels, journals of past researchers, government corporate reports on the strategies used in managing various past disasters, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings on disasters especially those in these two nations.

1.9       FINDINGS

Over the past several years, the spate of disasters in Japan, the PRC, Haiti, and the United States (US) has stimulated a discussion of very large, progressive or cascading disasters, now widely known as “compound disasters.” There is a need to recognize that compound disasters are a result of a series of component disasters in communities that in their aggregate overwhelm existing abilities to respond. (Disaster Risk Management in Asia and the Pacific: Issues Paper, 2013, pg 5-6).

1.0       DEFINITION OF TERMS

Some of the basic terms used in Disaster risk management.

Disaster: A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material , economic or environment losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

Risk: The probability of harmful consequences, or expected loses (deaths, injuries, property, livelihoods, economic activities disrupted or environment damage) resulting from interactions between natural or human-induced hazards and vulnerable conditions.

Risk Management: is the process of protecting assets, earning, debt, and human resources of the company with maximum effects and minimum costs.

Disaster Risk Management: The systematic process that integrates risk identification, mitigation and transfer, as well as disaster preparedness, emergency response and rehabilitation or reconstruction to lessen the impacts of hazards.

Mitigation: Structural and non-structural measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of natural hazards, environmental degradation and technological hazards.

(Glossary of terms – adapted from Study on Disaster Risk Management and Environment for the Karamojasubregion, Magunda, M.K. (PhD). August 2010.)

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