Geneva - Governor Toshizo Ido runs Japan's Hyogo Prefecture which has become synonymous with disaster risk reduction. Hyogo Prefecture, home to 29 cities, was tragically thrust into the limelight in 1995 when it was hit by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake which caused great destruction and the loss of 6,300 lives mainly in Kobe, Awaji and Takarazuka. Over 40,000 people were injured.
Today Governor Ido is recognized as a leading advocate for disaster risk reduction with a wealth of experience in disaster management and he is also a Champion for UNISDR's "Making Cities Resilient" Campaign.
Ten years after the earthquake, representatives of governments from around the world adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA). Last year 133 countries reported through the HFA Monitor - hosted on preventionweb.net - on their progress in implementing the framework agreement.
Governor Ido recently gave UNISDR a wide-ranging interview on his experiences as a Champion of the "Making Cities Resilient" Campaign. He says it was a great honor in 2005 when the world adopted the HFA during the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe.
"I think it is meaningful that the framework for action included aspects based on learning from and making use of our lessons learned and experiences in the recovery and reconstruction processes."
He points out that the passage of time has not made life easier for the survivors in the disaster-stricken areas: "the fact that 17 years have passed means that the affected people have also gotten older; therefore the life support to the elderly victims is one of challenges." He also notes "the difficulty" of preserving community ties in the reconstructed cities.
Another concern for Governor Ido, given predictions that another inland earthquake is likely within the next 30 years, is to ensure that people are ready for that eventuality through a host of measures including evacuation and emergency drills, and particular actions for vulnerable people.
The third issue of chief concern to him is the mental health of survivors, particularly children and the elderly. Lessons learned from the work of the Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress is informing the response to the needs of people living in those areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
He talks about these and other issues related to disaster recovery in Japan in this interview.
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