Learning from Megadisasters: World Bank and Japan release Study

Japan's Coastline Before and After the Tsunami
Credit: German Aerospace Center (DLR)/Rapid Eye

On March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan. Now the World Bank and the Government of Japan have launched a joint knowledge-sharing project called "Learning from Megadisasters". In the framework of this project, a study containing 32 thematic Knowledge Notes were published last week. They include six thematic clusters:

The notes also place emphasis on the use of satellite imagery as in Knowledge Note 5-2 "Risk and Damage Information Management": "By combining exposure data with satellite images and aerial photographs, post-event damage assessments can be carried out with reasonable accuracy. Japan’s experience with the disaster of March 2011 demonstrates that having exhaustive data on exposure expedites the damage assessment process, thereby reducing the time required for compensation payments and insurance payouts." Knowledge Note 3-2 "Emergency Communication" underscores the importance of satellite phones during the response phase.

"We hope aid practitioners will find the knowledge notes useful, as they include some novel findings such as importance of education that would percolate into people's behaviour," said Kazushige Taniguchi, the World Bank's special representative to Japan.