Western Japan Floods: Old-fashioned ‘Technology’ Helps Evacuees Share Key Information

CWS Japan | September 20, 2018

The old-fashioned paper diary. Photo: CWS

In addition to local coordination structures and groups, a mechanism was needed to coordinate agencies in Tokyo since a key unresolved issue was that insufficient information about available government support schemes, including subsidies and legal assistance. Since information was being sought in a scattered way, i.e., by different agencies, an urgent effort to integrate and share information – in both directions – was needed. So, for the people affected by the floods, CWS supported a Kochi University team to innovate a way to ease their info-sharing fatigue by providing a simple tool – an old-fashioned paper diary – that evacuees could use jot down their basic information, medical records, and other relevant information so that they did not need to answer similar questions many times over to representatives of different agencies. The diaries are also designed to be used by each evacuee’s service providers so their work, inputs, advice, etc. is recorded as a reference to others.

Dr. Sakiko Kanbara, who leads global program for disaster nursing at Kochi University, shared the idea of the diary from her experiences in Nepal and Japan, where she saw that post-disaster assessments and information-sharing is not really been done with a human-centered approach. So, Dr. Kanbara acted with CWS and United Church of Canada support to use the diary in the western Japan floods. Evacuees’ comment included these: “It was hard to maintain all contacts and updates in my phone, so [this old ‘technology’] really helps.” And, “People now ask me what happened in the first few weeks of the disasters; and I am starting to forget. So, this helps.”

(For more information please contact t.komino@cwsjapan.org )

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