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Press Releases

February 10, 2011

Nearing the One-year Mark since the Chile Earthquake
—Sharing Japan's Disaster Prevention Knowledge with Chile—

Nearly a year ago now, on February 27, 2010, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck the central coast of Chile, located almost exactly on the other side of the globe from Japan, resulting in 30-meter tsunamis. Waves from the quake reached all the way to Japan, where they were about a meter high.

At Chile's request, on December 2, 2010, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) began the Project on Capacity Building to Seismic Events and Tsunamis to address challenges revealed after the earthquake and tsunamis. Through dispatching experts to the disaster area and accepting training participants from the Chilean Government and related agencies, JICA has been implementing this technical cooperation with an objective of transmitting the experience and knowledge Japan has acquired in earthquake and tsunami damage prevention to Chileans, and strengthening their capacity to prevent disasters.

While scars from the earthquake have vanished for the most part, Chile and Japan are planning a variety of training sessions and other activities beginning in late February.

Project on Capacity Building to Seismic Events and Tsunamis (see appendix for details)


(1) Cooperation through the dispatch of experts

  • Earthquake-resistant construction

    With past JICA research cooperation having contributed to the revision of earthquake standards, damage to buildings was limited. Still, Chile is planning to move forward by reviewing unresolved issues, including techniques for assessing the risk of damaged structures, repair and reinforcement technologies for damaged structures, base-isolated construction for public buildings, and techniques for identifying areas subject to the liquefaction phenomenon. To support these efforts, JICA will be dispatching Japanese experts on reinforced concrete structures and soil systems, beginning February 14.

  • Bridges

    In the Chile earthquake, many bridges sustained substantial amounts of damage, even those that were relatively new. Although Japanese standards and bridge girder safety systems have been incorporated in earthquake-resistant bridge design standards since the earthquake, Japan continues to support Chile by dispatching experts beginning February 21 as the country desires to further review soil classifications and seismic spectra reading techniques for bridge design, and the relationship between ground strength and bridges.

(2) Japanese cooperation through accepting training participants

  • Tsunami warning systems

    The process for issuing tsunami warnings in Chile involves a number of agencies. Due to the complexity of that system and the limitation in the accuracy of warnings, action to prevent tsunami damage fell short. To improve accuracy and review the implementation system, pertinent personnel from the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior, the Earthquake Center at the University of Chile, and other agencies were invited to receive training starting February 16 at the Yokohama International Center and other institutions.
    The dispatch of experts on tsunami warning systems to Chile ended in December 2010.

  • Community-based Disaster Prevention

    As Chile has limited experience in community-led disaster prevention efforts, a training course on Community-based Disaster Prevention began at the Hyogo International Center in January 2011, where participants learn about the relationship between local government and the community as well as about the role the community plays during disasters in Japan. The course is planned to run through February 18.

  • Disaster response capacity improvement – emergency response, reconstruction planning and assistance for traumatic stress

    Two issues that had to be addressed in the Chile earthquake were how to ascertain the needs of the community and local government when the earthquake struck, and how to organize an emergency response checklist to be implemented within 24 hours of the earthquake. While the majority of reconstruction efforts are working toward completion based on the subsequently developed reconstruction plan, measures such as the creation and operation of a fund for long-term assistance have not been incorporated into planning, an area that requires improvement. Through the acceptance of training participants, expertise and experience acquired as a result of the Great Hanshin earthquake is being passed along to Chile.
    In Chile, a disaster healthcare plan that includes methods for transporting hospital patients when disasters strike and how to treat a person who has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder has been created. The participants will study assistance for traumatic stress along with preparation measures to prevent disasters.
    The training will be held at the Hyogo International Center starting March 14.

Tsunami warning system with digital terrestrial broadcasting

Chile adopted the Japanese method for broadcasting digital television in 2009. It is believed that the same system could also transmit information from a tsunami warning system and other information to households throughout the country. Cooperation in disaster prevention is expected to strengthen ties between Japan and Chile.

Long-term experts from JICA are stationed in Chile in anticipation of the start of digital terrestrial broadcasting.


Details for the Project on Capacity Building to Seismic Events and Tsunamis

General fieldSpecific fieldContributionScheduleLocationDomestic cooperation agencies
Earthquake-resistant constructionAdobe housingShort-term expertsDecember 2 to 9, 2010Santiago, other locations
Reinforced concrete structuresShort-term expertsFebruary 14 to 18, 2011Santiago, other locationsBuilding Research Institute,
Japan Building Disaster Prevention Association
SoilShort-term expertsFebruary 25 to March 3, 2011Santiago, other locationsNational Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Kyoto University
BridgesShort-term expertsFebruary 21 to 25, 2011Santiago, other locationsNational Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Tsunami warning systemsShort-term expertsDecember 13 to 17, 2010Santiago, other locations
Cabinet Office; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Japan Meteorological Agency; Port and Airport Research Institute; Shizuoka Prefecture
Country-focused trainingFebruary 16 to 25, 2011Yokohama International Center
Community disaster preventionCountry-focused trainingJanuary 10 to February 18, 2011Hyogo International CenterHyogo Prefecture, City of Kobe, others
Disaster response capacity improvementEmergency responseCountry-focused trainingMarch 14 to 23, 2011Hyogo International CenterCity of Kobe
Reconstruction planningHyogo Prefecture
Assistance for traumatic stressHyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress


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