Suitability of the early warning systems and temporary housing for the elderly population in the immediacy and transitional recovery phase of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Angus Naylor, Joanna Faure Walker, Anawat Suppasri

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper assesses the suitability of the early warning systems and post-disaster housing for the elderly population of Japan in the immediate and transitional recovery phase of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Written questionnaires and informal group interviews were conducted with residents of six temporary housing complexes in Miyagi and Iwate three and half years after the disaster. The median age of participants was 70, with an age range of 48 years. We assess rates of warning receipt in the immediacy of the event, evacuation actions thereafter, and the experience of living in temporary accommodation. 81% of those surveyed received at least one type of earthquake or tsunami warning, the most common being an audio mobile phone (AMP) message (which is received through a smart phone), heard by 45% of the sample. Radio, siren, and AMP notifications were most effective at informing the elderly overall. 84% of recipients took action in response to a tsunami warning, with 79% of respondents evacuating their homes prior to the arrival of the first wave. During the transitional phase of recovery, residents within temporary housing highlighted issues including a lack of floor space, poor thermal insulation, solitary living environments, and reduced privacy, which lead to stressed domestic relationships within families and social groups. Recommendations are made to consider the elderly to a greater degree in planning for the early warning and immediate phases of disaster, and throughout the long-term recovery process, in order to improve their psychological and physiological well-being.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302-310
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
    Volume31
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct

    Keywords

    • Early warning systems
    • Elderly
    • Evacuation
    • Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
    • Temporary housing
    • Transitional phase of recovery
    • Vulnerability

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
    • Safety Research
    • Geology

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