Tsunami deaths under the microscope in bid to save lives

Source(s)
Asahi Shimbun Company, the

By Hideaki Ishibashi

SENDAI--Fumihiko Imamura, one of the nation's leading tsunami experts, realized that no textbooks or training could ever have prepared him for the towering waves generated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that claimed countless lives in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan.

By Hideaki Ishibashi

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The team members are "listening" to the voiceless tsunami victims dead to figure out the deciding factor in whether a life is saved or lost and if people swept away by tsunami can survive.

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Prior to the magnitude-9.0 earthquake, Imamura actively toured coastal areas to promote evacuation drills and other safety steps. In hindsight, he keeps asking himself if he could have done more during his trips to devastated areas following the tsunami.

Under standard tsunami evacuation procedures, people are supposed to “flee as quickly as possible after an earthquake.” The 3/11 disaster led him to consider ways for people to survive even “if they cannot escape or fail to flee in time.”

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It was decided to take an interdisciplinary approach to the project on surviving a natural disaster. This entails carrying out tsunami simulations as well as considering appropriate rescue and medical operations coupled with disaster preparedness education and drills.

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