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Let’s discuss the flooding disaster in western Japan

This week’s featured article

JIJI, KYODO

About 5,900 people were still at shelters as of the night of July 13, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a week after special storm warnings were issued in eight prefectures in western and southwestern Japan.

The death toll from floods and landslides caused by the rain had reached 209 across 14 prefectures, the National Police Agency said on July 14, and many others are still missing. The number of deaths stood at 100 in Hiroshima Prefecture, 59 in Okayama and 26 in Ehime.

The Cabinet on July 14 designated floods and mudslides from the storm as an extraordinary disaster under the relevant special law. This will allow the victims to receive special administrative benefits, such as an extension of the validity of a driver’s license and business permits for restaurants and other shops.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave instructions regarding the designation the same day during a meeting at the disaster response headquarters set up for the disaster. As of 1 p.m. on July 13, 619 landslides and other sediment disasters had occurred in 31 prefectures, causing the closure of a combined seven sections on seven expressways and 63 combined sections on 39 national routes. Japan Freight Railway Co. and nine other railroads had halted runs on 24 lines.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, evacuation orders and advisories had been issued for some 48,000 households, or roughly 109,000 people, in at least 14 prefectures as of 3 p.m. on July 13.

The central government decided to disburse ¥2.1 billion from its contingency reserves to provide emergency assistance to afflicted areas. “The government will procure such emergency supplies as water, food, air conditioners and temporary toilets, all indispensable to people in disaster areas,” Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

The government earmarked ¥350 billion in the reserves in its fiscal 2018 initial budget.

First published in The Japan Times on July 15.

Warm up

One-minute chat about natural disasters.

Game

Collect words related to rain, e.g., umbrella, cloud, drop.

New words

1) evacuation: leaving a place for safety, e.g., “The war led to mass evacuations.”

2) disburse: pay out, e.g., “The city government is in charge of disbursing funds.”

3) contingency: something that could happen, e.g., “We must be prepared for contingencies.”

Guess the headline

About 5,900 f_ _ _ _ evacuees still in s_ _ _ _ _ _s; Tokyo moves to expedite aid

Questions

1) How many prefectures were affected by the recent heavy rain?

2) What can happen when a disaster is designated as an extraordinary disaster ?

3) How much has been budgeted for emergency assistance?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Have you ever experienced a serious natural disaster?

2) What do you think the government should do to prepare for such disasters?

3) What do you think the public should do to prepare?

Reference

これだけ技術が発達した現代でも自然の猛威を追い払うことができないのかともどかしくなるほど、西日本に降り注いだ大雨は大きな被害をもたらしました。雨による死者行方不明者の数が歴史的に多かっただけでなく、その後の猛暑や避難生活での疲れによる打撃も懸念されています。政府の初動の遅さが話題にも上りましたが、プッシュ型の緊急支援を決めました。国の支援はどのような形で行われるべきなのか、また私たちができることはあるのか、朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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