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February 27, 2015

The Lessons of Japan's Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Boost Disaster Preparedness Around the World
JICA training programs have spread knowledge gleaned from the disaster

To mark the passing of 20 years since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, JICA Kansai held the “Special Symposium on 20 Years of reconstruction After the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake” on Jan. 18 at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe.

Five international alumni of JICA training talked about what they learned based on the lessons of the earthquake and how they have used that knowledge to increase disaster readiness in their own countries.

photoŞahabettin Harput, the former governor of Bursa Province and former undersecretary of the Interior Ministry in Turkey, talks about the establishment of the Borsa Disaster Learning and Training Center.

Şahabettin Harput, the former governor of Bursa Province and former undersecretary of the Interior Ministry in Turkey, talked about how when he was Interior Ministry undersecretary in 2006, he visited disaster-preparedness-related facilities in Japan including the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution in Kobe. After becoming the governor of Bursa Province, established the Bursa Disaster Learning and Training Center, which is modeled after the institution in Kobe.

Long-Di, head of the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, participated in the Project for Capacity Development on Mental Health Services for Reconstruction Support of Sichuan Earthquake carried out by JICA from 2009 to 2014. She talked about the activities back home of former participants in training at the Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress and her experiences training many people who engage in caring for traumatic stress in disaster affected areas.

Boris Saez, the head of the Department of Disaster Risk Reduction Management in the Chilean city of Talcahuano, which suffered a big earthquake and tsunami in 2010. He reported that he started up a disaster risk management department in City Hall after participating in community disaster preparedness training conducted with the cooperation of the Kobe City Fire Bureau in 2013. He said that in collaboration with the Chilean Ministry of Education, he carried out disaster preparedness awareness activities aimed at elementary schools in the city in 2014. He emphasized that he plans to continue his awareness work.

photoInternational almuni of JICA training listen attentively to presentations.

Isaias Mendoza Panganiban Jr., municipal administrator, Municipal Government of Gua Gua, Pampanga Province, the Philippines, reported on his initiative to strengthen residents' self-help organizations in the town of Gua Gua, putting to use what he learned while participating in JICA training. That training was carried out with the cooperation of the Kobe Institute of Urban Research in 2012 based on the example of government and residents in Kobe working together to plan the recovery process and engage in city planning after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. He reported that other local governments are now considering similar initiatives.

Noer Isrodin, head of the SAR Training Center, National Search and Rescue Agency, Indonesia, talked about participating in emergency rescue training conducted with the cooperation of the Osaka City Fire Bureau in 2006 and putting the techniques he learned to work in instructing emergency rescue professionals in his agency. He also spoke about his work as part of a rescue team in the disaster area during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. He said he is now focused on disseminating emergency rescue techniques and know-how throughout all of Indonesia. Among the techniques being disseminated are water rescue, high angle rescue, fire search, helicopter rescue, vehicle accident rescue, first aid and mountain rescue, he said.

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