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Disaster management raises many questions that impact upon the legal frameworks in place in Australia.

  1. What level of government should manage a disaster?
  2. What powers should government have to manage and respond to a disaster?  

Which if allowed to enter Australia would have a devastating effect on the economy?

What powers should governments have to manage and respond to disasters?

Identify the legislation that would authorise evacuation of a community you are familiar with faced with leakage of a dangerous chemical.

  1. Make a table that identifies likely non-government organisations in your community and their roles in a disaster.
  2. Outline the key components of an Inter-Service Incident Management System. Summarise the roles of various levels of government and their agencies in management of a large-scale disaster?

What would a BCP for this business look like? Can such a business prepare for an event like this?

Consider the implications for healthcare professionals in Australia if an event such as this were to occur?

Consider also the healthcare professional’s recovery from an event such as this, both with and without allegations of misconduct?

Decisions such as the ones made at Memorial Medical Centre would not have been made lightly

Introduction to Disaster Management and Legal Frameworks

A calamity is a serious disruptive event that disturbs the functionality of society and causes human, economic, material, and environmental loss. Disaster happens either due to human deeds or by nature. These environmental losses are so extreme that, it becomes difficult for people to recover the economic loss.

Japan is one of the most seismically active places on the globe. One of the recent instances of disaster is Japan flood in July 2018, severe floods and landslides in western japan killed nearly 148 people, which forced millions of people to leave their homes. Moreover, dozens of people were missing during the nation`s worst weather calamity. Despite warnings, many places were still not prepared in japan to face flood disaster (McBride, 2018).

The disruption had negative impact on loss of human life and loss of property. This report outlines how effectively Japan’s government managed to fulfil its principles of managing disaster and on the other hand, the report reveals the drawbacks of plan made by government authorities to mitigate the risks of flood, so that the damage and destruction to life could be lower. The widespread growing threat of natural and human caused disasters have led to call for an action that can improve the planning of measures.

Japan is prone to natural disasters majorly from earthquakes, floods, tsunami, and landslides. Japan lies in a region that has high risk from flood and typical cyclones and the country has been figuring out the way to protect its 13 million inhabitants (Express, 2018).

In mid-July 2018, continuous heavy rainfall in western japan resulted in widespread destroying floods. Tokyo, the capital city and rest of japan has long history of destructing floods. It was reported that until 20th July 2018, 225 people lost their life with 13 people were missing (World economic forum, 2018).

Moreover, more than 8 million people were given homes and residence near the police prefectures. The japan flood 2018 was a disaster with highest death toll caused by rainfall that japan had faced in more than 2 decades. The flood hit japan badly in recent times among several disasters which took place in past (Express, 2018). More severe weather had abused japan in these recent years; it had more similar floods calamities that killed huge number of people. Around two million people were evacuated and shifted from the region because of river burst near their banks. The responsible authorities opened school halls for those who were displaced by the heavy rainfall. After the breakdown of disastrous flood, many rail tracks and expressways were flowed with the flood. Interruption of flood in rail and road services in Chugoku and Shikoku severely affected the distribution services of goods and local economies (Kinoshita, Tanoue, Watanabe, and Hirabayashi, 2018).  

Impact of Calamities on Society

There was a huge risk of landslides where rain-sodden hilltops were liable to collapse. The Prime Minister cancelled the overseas trip to deal with flood crisis. It was reported that the rescuers found several people with no sign of life in Asakura in Fukuoka. Doctors issued an official report on the death of four people. Torrential rain caused heavy flow of floods and landslides. More than one thousand people lost their lives in disastrous flood area. Due to heavy rains that continued for the whole week in the southwestern island caused numerous floods and landslides. Japan suffered from huge infrastructure loss through houses, railway and bridge destruction (Japantimes, 2018). In the wake of calamity, affected municipalities developed countermeasures regarding migration of people but it was realised that transportation system and infrastructure had been suffering from large-scale damage.


The nation had been suffering from financial and economic losses one after the other. Storm in 1910 destroyed and hampered 4.2% nation`s GDP (News Corp Australia Network, 2018). These storms occurred in 20th century damaged rapid urbanised cities. The financial cost of the flood, July 2018 is still being calculated. Japan incurred a loss of $207 million assessed by agriculture ministry. The heavy amount of rain was expected only in beginning of July. Moreover, continued throughout the month. The figure of loss is likely to rise in future as the clean-up continues. Agriculture Minister said that the price of agricultural products had shot up from 10% to 30 percent (Berlinger, & Wakatsuki, 2018).

Another discouraging factor was the flooded toilet facilities, which did not allow them to use the basic amenities especially at night. After torrential rain in the western japan, about 7000 people were shifted from floods areas as the sanitation risks face heightened discharge from heated bathrooms (Berlinger, & Wakatsuki, 2018).

Due to heavy rain, the death toll had risen to 75 percent in different parts of japan, as per the official tally. Health, welfare, and labour ministry reported that nearly 240000 households were without the running water amenity. The three major prefectures named as Hiroshima, Ethime, and Okayama suffered hard hit from the problem of availability of running water (Global water forum, 2018). The assessment of casualty became difficult to identify because widespread country`s area was affected by rainfall, landslide and flood. Associated authorities who were held to manage the risky flood warned the people that flood disaster had worst effect through rain subsides (Berlinger, & Wakatsuki, 2018). 

Ethical Principles and Disaster Risk Reduction

Japan flood was the result of heavy rains. This rain had been caused by warm, humid wind blowing from the Pacific Ocean and by the residues from Typhoon Prapiroon, both conditions intensified the seasonal rain front (NASA earth observatory, 2018). The disaster experts said that recent rainfall was unmatched and these torrential rains have become more frequent due to global warming. This disaster has greater negative impact on Japan’s urbanisation.

There are certain ethical principles in regard to reduce the risk of the disaster which will contribute to people`s resilience such as the humanitarian imperative, solidarity, joint responsibility, non-discrimination that can provide aides to every part of society without considering race, creed of the receiver. The priority of receiving the service or help depends only on need. The implementation of these universal and impartial policies can only work if government authorities as well as the people have access to the necessary resources to delegate the benefit to disaster victims (Berlinger, & Wakatsuki, 2018).   

The authorities had followed humanitarian imperative and tried to save the life of people. Municipal workers worked harder to restore water, which hit western japan after the flood. Flood killed more than 200 people in the country`s worst climate disaster in 36 years. More than 70,000 workers were involved in relief effort, including the fire service and the army. Flood warnings were still in to hit the areas worst, including Okayama prefecture in the southern japan. The official authority was checking every single house to check whether still people are trapped in trouble (Global water forum, 2018).  

Apart from considering the humanitarian perspective, the government had planned to designate torrential rain as a disaster with extreme severity so that funds and subsidies could improve the infrastructure or reconstruction projects in the affected areas. The cabinet marked this torrential rain as an extraordinary disaster so that they could allow people to take special administrative benefits such as extension of driving license, business permission for both shops and restaurants. After the search conducted by the police prefecture, the number of missing people reduced as the police was able to find the missing people. States and local authority, schools, hospitals provided high-quality information to reduce risk associated with housing construction and public infrastructure (Berlinger, & Wakatsuki, 2018). 

NHK (National public broadcasting organization) gave advice to cope up with heat and hygiene problems. The authority also made video tutorials on measures such as using towel and plastic shopping bag to make diaper. Authorities advised people to wait for disaster professionals before entering to damage home because of danger of exposed electric line wires and hazardous material. In Japan, Municipalities had made it mandatory to create and publish “hazard maps” which shows and predicts the risk associated with floods and landslides. By the end of 2013, 95% municipalities had published flood hazard maps and predicted 81% landslides according to land ministry (Global water forum, 2018).

Role of Government Authorities in Disaster Management


Despite advisors, many residents ignored the warnings because they did not have relevant knowledge of where to go and how to protect themselves from floods and landslides. Japan had stressed earthquake preparedness and policies to make quakeproof infrastructure. However, Okuma (emeritus professor at Niigata University who studies disasters) said it has done less potential efforts to eradicate problems related to floods and landslides. After numerous smaller disasters, the ministry of land had drafted plans to improve flood control and migration planning. The government keep monitoring the weather conditions and issues. It also declare and give early warning to people. Nevertheless, the country is still remains vulnerable to disaster such as flood, earthquake, and landslides (Demetriou, 2018).

Majority of cities of the country lies in mountainous area and construction takes place on every bit of usable land. After the Second World War, policies relating to reforestation and afforestation were formulated. According to policies, even mountains should not remain isolated. The policies enforced tree plantation on mountains. The trees planted on mountains 60 years ago have been contributing danger to human life. During landslides, these huge and heavy trees break by its roots, fall on houses, and people (Shirai et al., 2018). 

Ministry of land, transportation and infrastructure had been making long term efforts to educate the nation`s population regarding managing, availing and awaking the people to mitigate risks. The authority had been spreading constant information and regulating campaigns to establish water supply stations in the radius of 2 km throughout the city (Guzman, 2018).

After meeting the relief workers, Shinzo Abe (Prime minister) came to know that floods were driving, shoring, and flushing out the home directly into the floods. In response to these conditions, Prime minister took strict actions to improve the evacuation centres. Now, the government has been focusing on working to help and maintain local counterparts to save lives. The government guaranteed to deliver necessities to flood victims by coordinating with local governments (Tembata, & Takeuchi, 2018). On 11 July 2018, PM launched relief operations, which declared that government would take into consideration flood calamity as a situation of extreme severity under the specific law concerning particular financial assistance to deal with disaster (Global water forum, 2018). The government is following the ethical principles such as humanitarian helps to treat people equally. Regardless of the non-discrimination, the government protects its aged population, who have not contributed to the development. Concern on the part of central government adds financial assistance for reconstructing the infrastructure and also helps the nation`s people not to lose hope.  

Drawbacks of Flood Management Strategies

Japan had constructed and undertaken two huge construction projects to protect the Japan’s capital from all time threat of floods. The first project is known as Metropolitan Area outer underground discharge tunnel (G-Cans project) that was completely constructed in 2009. The height of these water storage tanks of G-cans project measures 25.4 metres supported by 59 pillars. During flood, 2018, this project managed to channelize the overflowing floodwater from the rivers to five silos through various tunnels. These silos in G-can project are 65 metres deep with 64 metres radius. As soon as these silos reached their capacity, tunnel sent floodwater to storage tanks (Water technology, 2018). A network tunnel of 3.3 km also called “Furukawa Reservoir.” Tokyo`s full flood control system is due to engineering skills (Mondal, & Patel, 2018).

As far as long-term protection is considered, japan had tried to build water channels and extensive number of levies (Kure, Tebakari, & Miyamoto, 2016). Nevertheless, disaster after disaster and flood after flood proved that the construction of water channels were not enough. After a series of deadly six floods during 1980s, it had destructed thousands of homes in the capital city. After seeing such a destruction and economic loss every year, the national leaders decided to give special attention to protect the capital city. Because of six floods during 1980s and 1990s, two floods caused damage to more than 30000 homes. Japan construction team replace the earth by constructing concrete (Hattori, Shimizu, & Saito, 2018).

The drainage systems were not at all enough to cope with the humungous volume of water. The water discharge Tunnel on the outskirts and boundaries of the metropolitan Area known as “G-Cans.” This project was considered as world`s largest drainage system till 1993 (Japantimes, 2018). The concept of project was simple. Existing rivers and waterways were connected to overflow pipes and drains. The above ground drainage system continues its operation in central Tokyo, whereas its whole capacity was hugely expanded underground (Cervone et al., 2016).

Driven by prevention mindset, Tokyo has invested billions of dollars into flood preparation over the last several centuries. The country has developed most extraordinary green and grey infrastructure in the world. Green infrastructure is defined as the strategic use of networks open spaces and natural lands to conserve the ecosystem. Grey infrastructure is defined as human-engineered infrastructure especially for wastewater treatment, reservoirs, and pipelines. Grey infrastructure is a centralised approach, which undertake water management (Allen, 2013). The Current conditions of japan is not very well, as it has been suffering from sheer amount of water and poor quality of shelter. Most residential areas of japan are highly dense and these areas are flood prone. The population of japan is not distributed in different area rather it is highly concentrated in flood prone area (Guzman, 2018).

Lessons from Japan Flood 2018

To increase and expand the city limits, many new homes were constructed near the mountain. Nearly 73% of Japan’s area is mountainous whereas both the scattered plains and intermountain basins cover 27% area. The major population is concentrated in in intermountain basins. Living near the mountain bases increases the risk of landslide and Japanese homes were not very strongly constructed (McBride, 2018).

The trouble understanding is that people try to rebuild the home in the same way and at the same place, as they refuse to learn lessons from the previous flood disasters (Honda et al., 2018). The public do not require knowledge of Bayesian statistician to understand that once the nature has destroyed the residential home. It is not a great idea to reconstruct the house in the flood prone area repeatedly. Japanese population started to shrink. People has to take into consideration that there is a small number of historical safe land but they are highly dense and rest land available are risky. After knowing the causes of flood, the government has realised that it needs to take various initiatives to mitigate the risk and effect of global warming (Tanwattana, & Toyoda, 2018).  

Conclusion

Continuous floods causes destruction as japan is a flood prone area. The country should build flood protection strategies at least before the floods so that the destruction caused can be minimised. The environmental experts should undertake regional studies to figure out the impact of floods on socio-economic environment and further launch a system of technology to manage extreme floods. There should be coordination and proper interaction between geomorphological dynamics and engineering works. Proper prediction of occurrence probability by using paleo data will help to make a future estimation of how extreme would be the flood. From geomorphological point of view, proper identification of channel and river network in each area would help to plan how floodwater can be diverted and managed by knowing capacity of each channel.

If a dry dam were built at flood prone site, and channelize those areas directly into the dams through a pipeline would reduce the dirty water accumulation on the particular place. Methods such as afforestation, construction of dams, reservoirs, and levees and efficient channels that can divert the floodwater would help to control the sufferings from the flood disaster.

References

Allen, W. (2013). The Conservation Fund (referenced in World Resources Institute, Natural Infrastructure - Investing in Forested Landscapes for Source Water Protection in the United States. Retrieved from: https://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/wri13_report_4c_naturalinfrastructure_v2.pdf)

Berlinger, J., & Wakatsuki, Y. (2018). Training thunderstorms' made Japan's floods even deadlier. Retrieved from: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/13/asia/japan-floods-intl/index.html

Cervone, G., Sava, E., Huang, Q., Schnebele, E., Harrison, J., & Waters, N. (2016). Using Twitter for tasking remote-sensing data collection and damage assessment: 2013 Boulder flood case study. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 37(1), 100-124.

Demetriou, D. (2018). Japan floods: Death toll rises to 110 as officials warn of more landslides. Retrieved from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/09/japan-floods-death-toll-rises-88-officials-warn-landslides/

Express, (2018). Japan flooding 2018 map: Death toll rises to 200 – why so many deaths? Where did rain hit? Retrieved from: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/988060/japan-flooding-2018-map-death-toll-latest-news-floods-hiroshima-kyoto-rains

Global water forum, (2018). Flood disaster prevention: Lessons from Tokyo. Retrieved from: https://www.globalwaterforum.org/2018/01/22/flood-disaster-prevention-lessons-from-tokyo/

Guzman, J. A. T. D. (2018). Disaster Risk Reduction Building a Foundation for Our Future. The Magazine of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, 10(1). 3-15.

Hattori T., Shimizu N. and Saito A. (2018). The Regional Structure and Farming Resumption in a Tsunami-Affected Community: The Case Studies of Otomo and Hirota Districts in Rikuzentakata City: Iwate Prefecture. In: Santiago-Fandiño V., Sato S., Maki N., Iuchi K. (eds) The 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Reconstruction and Restoration. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, 47(1).

Honda, T., Kotsuki, S., Lien, G. Y., Maejima, Y., Okamoto, K., & Miyoshi, T. (2018). Assimilation of Himawari?8 All?Sky Radiances Every 10 Minutes: Impact on Precipitation and Flood Risk Prediction. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123(2), 965-976.

japangasm, (2012). The Underground Wonder of Tokyo. Retrieved from: https://japangasm.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/the-underground-wonder-of-tokyo/

Japantimes, (2018). Western Japan struggles to restore water to flood-hit towns as temperatures soar. Retrieved from: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/13/national/western-japan-struggles-restore-water-flood-hit-towns-temperatures-soar/#.W3z5F-gzbIW

Kinoshita, Y., Tanoue, M., Watanabe, S. and Hirabayashi, Y. (2018). Quantifying the effect of autonomous adaptation to global river flood projections: application to future flood risk assessments. Environmental Research Letters, 13(1), 3-8. 

Kure, S., Tebakari, T., & Miyamoto, M. (2016). Review of Recent Water-Related Disasters and Scientific Activities in Southeast Asia: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges for Disaster Risk Reduction. Journal of Disaster Research, 11(3), 397-399.

McBride, R. (2018). Japan: Calls for better flood preparations after disaster. Retrieved from: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/japan-calls-flood-preparations-unprecedented-disaster-180710124403279.html

Mondal, S., & Patel, P. P. (2018). Examining the utility of river restoration approaches for flood mitigation and channel stability enhancement: a recent review. Environmental Earth Sciences, 77(5), 195.

NASA earth observatory, (2018). Severe Rainfall and Flooding in Japan. Retrieved from: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92397/severe-rainfall-and-flooding-in-japan

News Corp Australia Network, (2018). Japan floods claim dozens of lives. Retrieved from: https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/japan-floods-claim-dozens-of-lives/news-story/00c90a4637996bed1781b3b384c0f3d3

Shirai, N., Bhagabati, S. S., Kodaka, A., Kohtake, N., Kawasaki, A., Acierto, R. A., & Zin, W. W. (2018). Data Communication for Efficient Water Resource Management among Multiple Stakeholders–A Case Study in the Bago River Basin, Myanmar. Journal of Disaster Research, 13(1), 71.  

Tanwattana, P., & Toyoda, Y. (2018). Contributions of gaming simulation in building community-based disaster risk management applying Japanese case to flood prone communities in Thailand upstream area. International journal of disaster risk reduction, 27(1), 199-213.  

Tembata, K., & Takeuchi, K. (2018). Collective decision making under drought: an empirical study of water resource management in Japan. Water resources and economics, 22(1), 19-21.

Water technology, (2018). G-Cans Project, Kasukabe, Saitama, Greater Tokyo Area. Retrieved from: https://www.water-technology.net/projects/g-cans-project-tokyo-japan/

World economic forum, (2018). This is why Japan's floods have been so deadly. Retrieved from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/japan-hit-by-worst-weather-disaster-in-decades-why-did-so-many-die

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