Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tsunami-hit city shares recovery tips with typhoon-hit Philippines

Japan Times: A city in Miyagi Prefecture that was devastated by the March 2011 disasters is sharing its recovery lessons with the central Philippines, which is trying to recover from the damage Typhoon Haiyan inflicted in November.

Shuya Takahashi of Higashi-Matsushima’s Reconstruction Policy Division said the city is trying to become place that can “withstand disasters and is safe, where people can feel secure and live with smiles on their faces, and nurture industries and create jobs.”

Takahashi was speaking Friday at a seminar organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Philippine Public Works and Highways Department. The two bodies are sharing experiences and strategies on disaster management and reconstruction.

Takahashi disclosed that just a month after the natural disasters, Higashi-Matsushima was able to come up with guidelines for recovery and reconstruction. This was followed by a 10-year reconstruction and development plan through 2020.

Takahashi said that it was very important to get the local community involved in developing the plan and other prudent measures, like setting up evacuation areas and building tsunami defenses. “We adopted a bottom-up approach to our consensus plan
ning,” he said.

Koichi Hashimoto of the Higashi-Matsushima Construction Industry Association and Chamber of Commerce spoke of the value of recycling debris from disasters, citing the city’s 97 percent recycling rate. Not only can natural materials be used for reconstruction, they can also help affected people generate income, thus rekindling the local economy, he said....

An aerial view of Tacloban after Haiyan, shot by Russell Watkins/Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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