December 5, 2017
Over 400 people have died from the earthquakes that occurred twice in Mexico City in September 2017. On December 5, 2017, JICA held a Build Back Better seminar which focused on the reconstruction of Mexico, and introduced Japan's reconstruction experiences and countermeasures for disastrous events like earthquakes. Mexican citizens have then recognized anew the importance of building a resilient society by reflecting the concept of "Build Back Better" into the Mexican policy.
In Mexico, a magnitude 8.2 earthquake occurred at about 87 km south of Pijijiapan, State of Chiapas, on September 7, 2017 and, subsequently, an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 with its centre at about 12 km southeast of Axochiapan, State of Morelos, struck in September 19 of the same year. As the result, over 400 people perished and several buildings were destroyed.
It is anticipated that another massive earthquake could strike in the future. Hence, it is important to build a more resilient society in the process of reconstruction. To promote this process, JICA dispatched a study team in order to discuss the possible technical cooperation toward the "Build Back Better" concept in October 2017, and held a seminar in December 2017, in collaboration with the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperatrion (Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo: AMEXCID) and the Ministry of the Interior held to share Japan's past experiences and knowledge of reconstruction from earthquakes.
Over 200 people participated in the seminar on December 5, 2017
Dr. Carlos Váldez emphasized the importance of the recognition of earthquake risks.
Dr. Nishikawa and Mr. Ishikura shared Japan's experiences on reconstruction from disasters.
In the seminar, Dr. Satoru NISHIKAWA, Executive Director of Research, Japan Center for Area Development Research, made a presentation to share the past experiences obtained from the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake, and a case regarding the promotion of earthquake resistance structures in public buildings such as, schools and city halls, in preparation for probable future disasters was introduced and the concept that "we cannot prevent natural disasters but we can reduce the vulnerability of society" was also strongly emphasized.
In addition, Mr. Takayuki ISHIKURA, Senior Staff Member of Disaster Prevention and Risk Management Bureau, Nagoya City, Japan, introduced a case study regarding some efforts and countermeasures made by local governments such as, installation of water pipes resistant to earthquakes, and referred to the importance of disaster risk reduction to society as a whole, including raising public awareness.
On the other hand, Dr.Carlos Váldez, the Director of Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center(Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres: CENAPRED), highlighted the importance of daily preparation on the mitigation of damage and emphasized the necessity to recognize the risk of earthquakes in Mexico based on the history of past disasters and to promote better reconstruction countermeasures.
To build a more resilient society, it is necessary to work together with the public and private sectors and share their knowledge and experiences mutually. JICA exhibited a booth adjacent to the seminar venue to promote Japan's disaster risk reduction technologies which were developed by some of Japan's private enterprises.
Over 200 visitors from Mexico's central and local governments, academic and research institutes, and private enterprises shared the importance of reconstruction, reflecting the concept of Build Back Better. Finally, Ambassador. Agustin Garcia-Lopez, the Executive Director of AMEXCID, which co-hosted the seminar, expressed his appreciation to the Japan Disaster Relief Rescue Team, together with his expectation for technical support for the reconstruction of Mexico. JICA will continue supporting Mexico, and proceed with the reconstruction based on the Build Back Better concept.
*Build Back Better
"Build Back Better" is a concept to build more resilient communities throughout the reconstruction phase following a disaster. To reduce the potential risk of disaster damage, it is necessary to build homes in lower risk areas, and to build disaster-resistant urban structures. The reconstruction phase following a disaster is an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from the disaster experience into fundamental processes like land use planning and the construction of disaster-resilient structures (Refer to the White Paper on Disaster Management in Japan, 2015.)
JICA deploys technical cooperation based on the concept of Build Back Better, which was proposed at the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030" adopted at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015.