Quick Evacuation Could Reduce North Japan Earthquake Death Toll by 80%


Deaths from the tsunami generated by a massive quake off Japan’s north and northeast Pacific coast could be reduced by 80% if people quickly evacuate, a government disaster management task force said on Tuesday. .

The report follows last year’s prediction by the Central Disaster Management Board that up to 199,000 people in seven prefectures, including Hokkaido and Iwate, could be killed if a magnitude 9 earthquake strikes along the trenches of Japan and Chishima.

The task force also called for measures to address issues unique to regions that experience extreme cold, such as ways to address evacuation issues due to snow and to prevent the impact of injuries from being exacerbated by prolonged exposure to low temperatures.

He also studied the possibility of setting up a system in which an evacuation is requested when a possible precursor shock to a massive earthquake is felt, but finally decided that it would be more appropriate to simply alert the inhabitants of an imminent threat.

The Japan Trench extends off Hokkaido east of the Boso Peninsula near Tokyo, while the Chishima Trench extends off Hokkaido to the Chishima Islands, also known as of the Kuril Islands.

The Japanese government, which undertook a review of disaster management processes following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan, will update its basic plan based on the latest proposal.

To shorten evacuation times, the report called for evacuation routes to be established with roofs and walls to prevent snow and ice buildup on the roads that could slow people’s movement.

He also proposed the construction of facilities such as evacuation towers with heating and winter clothing available to prevent evacuees from developing hypothermia.

Family members pray for the victims of the March 11, 2011 tsunami, on its 11th anniversary in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture. | KYODO

For low areas without easy access to heights, it is necessary to think about the best way to evacuate people by car or to relocate residences on heights, indicates the report, while underlining the importance of education and training to raise awareness of the need to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

He also called for the seismic resistance of the structures to be increased based on the council’s assumption that a maximum of 220,000 buildings could be destroyed by a mega-earthquake and tsunami that could reach nearly 30 meters in height.

Although a system was introduced to issue an evacuation call ahead of a massive earthquake around the Nankai Trough, which stretches from west to central Japan, the report says a similar measure n is not scientifically appropriate, given the opaque circumstances around the two trenches.

The report, meanwhile, proposed a scheme to incentivize residents to stockpile water and food and confirm evacuation sites in preparation for a larger earthquake if a magnitude 7 earthquake hits. or more was occurring in or around the supposed epicenter.

Regarding post-disaster responses, the report calls for support plans that take into account the time required for rescue and transport due to snowy and icy roads and the need to stockpile medical supplies.

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