Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2016
There were 5,385 deceased and 710 missing in the Ishinomaki medical zone following the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in Japan on March 11, 2011. The Ishinomaki Zone Joint Relief Team (IZJRT) was formed to unify the relief teams of all organizations joining in support of the Ishinomaki area. The IZJRT expanded relief activity as they continued to manually collect and analyze assessments of essential information for maintaining health in all 328 shelters using a paper-type survey. However, the IZJRT spent an enormous amount of time and effort entering and analyzing these data because the work was vastly complex. Therefore, an assessment system must be developed that can tabulate shelter assessment data correctly and efficiently. The objective of this report was to describe the development and verification of a system to rapidly assess evacuation centers in preparation for the next major disaster.
Based on experiences with the complex work during the disaster, software called the “Rapid Assessment System of Evacuation Center Condition featuring Gonryo and Miyagi” (RASECC-GM) was developed to enter, tabulate, and manage the shelter assessment data. Further, a verification test was conducted during a large-scale Self-Defense Force (SDF) training exercise to confirm its feasibility, usability, and accuracy. The RASECC-GM comprises three screens: (1) the “Data Entry screen,” allowing for quick entry on tablet devices of 19 assessment items, including shelter administrator, living and sanitary conditions, and a tally of the injured and sick; (2) the “Relief Team/Shelter Management screen,” for registering information on relief teams and shelters; and (3) the “Data Tabulation screen,” which allows tabulation of the data entered for each shelter, as well as viewing and sorting from a disaster headquarters’ computer. During the verification test, data of mock shelters entered online were tabulated quickly and accurately on a mock disaster headquarters’ computer. Likewise, data entered offline also were tabulated quickly on the mock disaster headquarters’ computer when the tablet device was moved into an online environment.
The RASECC-GM, a system for rapidly assessing the condition of evacuation centers, was developed. Tests verify that users of the system would be able to easily, quickly, and accurately assess vast quantities of data from multiple shelters in a major disaster and immediately manage the inputted data at the disaster headquarters.