Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2009

(5) Disaster Risk Reduction and Post-Disaster Reconstruction

Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and floods, which occur frequently in countries around the world, lead to the extensive loss of human life and property, and have a serious impact on economic and social systems overall. In particular, in developing countries that are vulnerable to disasters, where impoverished people are often affected and become disaster refugees, prolonged secondary damages such as the deterioration of sanitary conditions and food shortage are major problems.

<Japan's Efforts>

Japan utilizes its advanced expertise and technology acquired through past experiences with disasters and proactively provides support in the areas of disaster prevention and post-disaster reconstruction sector as well as emergency assistance. At the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe in 2005, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 was adopted as a basic guideline for disaster risk reduction activities in the international community. Japan promotes its worldwide implementation in cooperation with the United Nations and so forth.

At the conference, Japan announced its Initiative for Disaster Reduction through ODA, which represents Japan's basic policies regarding cooperation for disaster risk reduction through official aid. Japan expressed its intent to continue to actively support the self-help efforts by developing countries toward building a disaster-resilient society through institution building, human resource development, development of economic and social infrastructure and other measures. Furthermore, at the Asian-African Summit in 2005, Japan announced that it would be providing more than US$2.5 billion in assistance over the next five years for the disaster prevention and mitigation, and reconstruction measures, and has been steadily implementing support.

Humanitarian Support in Bangladesh

The cyclone "Sidr" that hit Bangladesh on November 15 and 16, 2007 left 3,363 people dead and 871 people missing. In response, Japan provided emergency relief goods. Through grant aid, based on a request from the government of Bangladesh, Japan provided a cyclone shelter whose effectiveness was reaffirmed in this disaster. As a result of the development of the multipurpose cyclone shelter, it can be expected that 61,000 people will newly be ensured an area for evacuation.

Flood Control Sector Loan (Indonesia)

The major local cities of Indonesia are frequently damaged by floods, and the challenge is how to deal with this problem. In response, Japan supports the improvement of river and flood control infrastructure. Furthermore, Japan provides various types of support for capacity building for watershed management offices while keeping in mind measures to cope with climate change, and formulation of a comprehensive water resource management plan. Through this support, Japan contributes to lessening the damage from floods in these regions, and economic development.

Japan Disaster Relief Team

Japan is prepared to swiftly extend emergency relief aid in response to requests from the government of a disaster-affected country or an international organization in case of a large-scale disaster overseas. There are four types of teams: Search and Rescue Team to search and rescue disaster victims; Medical Team to provide medical services for disaster victims; Expert Team to give advice and instruction on first aid measures, etc.; and SDF units to be dispatched when particularly necessary. As for material aid, Japan has emergency relief goods to be swiftly supplied to disaster-affected countries in case of a large-scale disaster. Specifically, warehouses located at four overseas points stockpile goods necessary for victims' livelihoods, such as tents, power generators and blankets.

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake that hit Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia on September 30, 2009 was a major disaster that left approximately 1,100 people dead and 2,900 people injured. Japan received a request from the government of Indonesia on October 1 and decided to dispatch the Japan Disaster Relief Team and provide emergency relief goods. Search and rescue teams, medical teams, and SDF units were dispatched. Also, Japan has provided emergency relief goods to Mexico (novel influenza), Burkina Faso (flood), the Philippines (typhoon), Papua New Guinea (infectious diseases such as cholera), Samoa (earthquake and tsunami), Vietnam (typhoon), Indonesia (earthquake [previously mentioned]), Laos (typhoon), and Bhutan (earthquake).

Japan Disaster Relief Team carrying out medical activities

Japan Disaster Relief Team carrying out medical activities (Photo: JICA)

Major Earthquake in Sichuan Province, China

The magnitude 8.0 earthquake that hit Sichuan Province, China on May 12, 2008 was a major disaster that left approximately 70,000 people dead. Japan provided a total of ¥500 million in emergency grand aid and emergency relief goods such as tents. In response to a request from the government of China, Japan dispatched search and rescue team of 61 people and a medical team of 23 people.

The search and rescue team carried out search and rescue activities every day from May 16 through 19. As a result of discussions with the Chinese side, the medical team carried out medical activities together with Chinese medical personnel at West China Hospital next to Sichuan University where there was an urgent need for emergency medical services. For 10 days starting on May 21, the medical team split into eight groups and worked in the emergency room, ICU, and X-ray unit, and altogether the team provided medical care to about 1,500 patients.

Collaboration with International Agencies

Japan provides cooperation for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery established in the World Bank in 2006. This facility aims at supporting efforts like improving capacity for disaster prevention planning, policy, as well as damage rehabilitation. Its targets are low and middle- income countries which are vulnerable to disasters. Japan has made financial contributions of US$6.0 million to the facility during a three year period.

Under the increasing recognition of the importance of disaster risk reduction, it was agreed in the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 to establish the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to facilitate discussions on this issue, with participation from international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank and their member countries. This led to the first meeting of the Global Platform in July, 2007. Japan actively supports the activities of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR), which assumes the role as the secretariat of this Global Platform. In October 2007, the Hyogo Office of the UN/ISDR opened.

The First World Landslide Forum

The First World Landslide Forum was held in November, 2008 in Tokyo, bringing together participants engaging in measures against landslides from around the world. Japan provided assistance of US $150,000 to UN/ISDR to hold this forum, thereby contributing to the international cooperation on measures against landslide disasters, in which Japan has been playing the leading role with its expertise and technologies.