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Major earthquakes with a magnitude of 8-9 are anticipated to occur in the next 30 years at a 60 percent chance on the southern coast of Japan. Since the most part of our Prefecture is likely to be damaged by tsunami and landslides, residents are expected to take a self-reliant approach on the initial several days after the earthquakes and tsunami.
To improve the resilience of the local communities we have developed and applied an educational program of disaster response.
An active learning program was designed on roles of rescuers and sufferers, and conducted two-hour sessions for high school students using a scenario in which they encountered an earthquake during a field trip. Half of the participants were assigned to play students on a field trip and asked to discuss options as a small group to survive and secure their safety in an isolated situation after an earthquake. They exchanged ideas to stay alive, cooperate with local residents and request disaster assistance using very short radio messages to the appropriate counterpart. The other half of the participants were assigned to be school administrations and asked to estimate the situation of sufferers. Their task as a small group was to organize assistance based on the best assumption from the limited information of the isolated students and local villagers.
After the sessions, the participants expressed their discovery in the discrepancy of situational recognition between the two groups and they learned about assumption-based planning as well as good information sharing.
Through this program, the participants experienced simulated situations and learned perspectives from both sides; providing relief as rescuers and receiving aid as sufferers. The participants were motivated to share and utilize their knowledge and skills to make their community resilient to disasters.