Typhoon Hagibis Hits Japan: Disaster Update

CWS Japan | October 15, 2019


      Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan on October 12 and led to widespread flooding and landslides in many parts of central Japan. In just two days the typhoon brought 30-40% of the annual rainfall to areas, and the highest warning level (category 5: do whatever it takes to save your life) was issued in 13 prefectures. More than 7 million people were told to evacuate. Domestic news agency NHK has reported a death toll of 72 people. More than 45,000 households are without power. We are still observing the situation; 181 rivers in 16 prefectures breached, and water inundation continues to force millions of people to be evacuated.

      Typhoon Hagibis has devastated areas that were already weakened by previous disasters, including last month’s Typhoon Faxai. The Japanese government’s response includes search and rescue, provision of emergency supplies at officially designated evacuation shelters (mostly school buildings), and restoration of lifeline and infrastructure such as roads and repairing of riverbanks. However, vulnerable groups that may not be able to fully access relief services include:

      * Those who couldn’t be sheltered at officially designated evacuation shelters, such as mothers with young children, people with disabilities and senior citizens;
      * Those who were already recovering from Typhoon Faxai; and
      * Those who will likely struggle to clear the debris from their houses before recovery work can start.


      CWS Japan’s response will prioritize the following activities for 1,000 families in the cities of Tateyama and Minami Bosou Cities in Chiba Prefecture:

      1. Home and livelihood restoration: recovery begins with removing destroyed furniture and potentially removing walls or floors for sterilization. This is labor-intensive work that could be a challenge for elderly families, so they will need help from skilled volunteers or professional services. In addition, for farmers and fishermen, damaged equipment needs to be fixed in order to restart their livelihoods.

      2. Volunteer dispatch for debris clearance: debris needs to be cleared from affected areas, but there are not enough personnel available. CWS and our ACT Alliance partners in Japan have put out a call for volunteers, and we will create a base of operations from which to manage volunteer dispatch.

      3. Capturing of lessons learnt from Typhoon Hagibis: this typhoon was a stark reminder that we are now living in the era of ‘New Normal’ as indicated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unprecedented weather disasters are likely to become a common phenomenon. Particularly the role of media and the optimal timing and methodology of releasing dam water should be captured and disseminated to global disaster risk reduction stakeholders.

      Priority in our response will be given to families without support mechanism to assist in disaster recovery work (elderly families, single parent households, non-Japanese residents, and people with disabilities). Response activities in Fukushima and Nagano prefectures are still under assessment with partners.

      This response is expected to continue through March 2020.


      The budget is indicative at this point, and maybe revised based on funding coverage and further needs assessment/analysis. The budget is indicated in Japanese Yen and United States Dollars.

      * Home and livelihood restoration: 3,500,000 / $32,407
      * Volunteer management and distribution of relief supplies: 5,000,000 / $46,296
      * Capturing lessons learned: 600,000 / $5,556
      * CWS response coordinator position: 600,000 / $5,556
      * Coordination and indirect costs: 970,000 / $8,981
      * Miscellaneous: 130,000 / $1,204

      TOTAL: 10,800,000 / $100,000

      For more information, please contact Takeshi Komino, Country Representative, CWS Japan telephone: 03-5577-4538; email: t.komino@cwsjapan.org )

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