Half of Japan’s Evacuation Centers Aren’t Quake-Proof

New survey indicates aftershock calamity for evacuees

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Yuya Shino / Reuters

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other participants take shelter under a table inside a shaking earthquake simulator during an annual anti-disaster drill based on scenarios of a major earthquake hitting Chiba, east of Tokyo September 1, 2013.

Japan’s preparedness for frequent earthquakes received a wake-up call with the revelation that only 56.5% of the country’s evacuation shelters are quake-resistant and would be able to withstand aftershocks. The problem is worst in rural areas, according to a survey conducted by the Board of Audit, where measures to reinforce evacuation centers have lagged behind.

A large proportion of local towns and villages are also lacking manuals on how to operate such shelters, of which there are 90,262 across the country, a predicament that was evident after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, when evacuees had to deal with supply shortages and unhygienic toilet facilities.

The magnitude 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami claimed more than 15,000 lives and led to the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

[Japan News]