AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science

Pre-disaster Recovery Planning: Lessons From Japan

by Kathryn Wasley

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Japan; earthquake; disaster; recovery; pre-disaster recovery planning; resilience; risk; vulnerability; public partcipation; local government; New Zealand; pre-planning; decentralisation
Record ID: 1297739
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4848


People worldwide are exposed to a variety of hazards. Usually, when natural hazards such as earthquakes occur in uninhabited areas the human impact is negligible. However, hazards can be so extreme that they adversely affect humans, and the aftermath can be disastrous. Allowing hazards to become disasters and their longevity are dictated by the society it strikes. Disaster management and being prepared is central to addressing this. There are relatively few studies of the recovery phase of disaster planning and this information gap presented an opportunity to contribute to disaster planning theory. It also allows for the implementation of findings into planning practice and policy. The aim of this research was to identify and evaluate good practice in recovery planning with specific emphasis on predisaster recovery planning and the potential application of those practices into the New Zealand planning and policy framework. Another facet of the research challenged the definition of preparedness and asserted that preparedness should also embody pre-disaster recovery planning. Research was focussed on and undertaken in Japan. Japan is very experienced in disaster planning and management for a range of disasters, especially earthquakes. With each new disaster experience they have applied new learnings and as such, are leaders in disaster management. Interviews were conducted with crisis management planners, city planners, and disaster researchers. Findings of this research revealed that pre-disaster recovery planning allows for significant and empowered public participation, made even more effective by being controlled at the local level so that communities can quickly return to the normalcy they desire. As well, predisaster recovery planning gives the opportunity to successfully introduce sustainable design and best practice planning principles can be realised. It is recommended that a process to guide pre-disaster recovery planning be implemented into the New Zealand legislative framework at the local government level. The Canterbury Earthquakes have highlighted New Zealand’s vulnerability and the necessity for pre-disaster recovery plans to increase resilience and reduce disaster impacts. Applying the lessons from Japan in New Zealand therefore is vital for adequate disaster management practice in this country.