80 percent of residents did not follow evacuation advisories for Typhoon Jongdari: survey

JIJI

About 80 percent of residents in western Japan did not follow evacuation advisories issued late last month in relation to Typhoon Jongdari because they believed their houses were safe, a recent survey found.

The online survey, conducted on Aug. 1 and 2, covered adults in the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime, which had been hardest hit by heavy rains earlier last month. Some 9,400 gave valid responses.

The downpours have claimed 219 lives in wide areas of western Japan. Jongdari, the 12th typhoon this year, passed through the Chugoku western region, including Okayama and Hiroshima, on July 29.

The survey found that 58.8 percent of respondents in Hiroshima were more aware of the need to evacuate for the typhoon than for earlier rainfall. The percentage was 51.5 percent in Okayama and 48.9 percent in Ehime.

Asked why they did not evacuate, 80.2 percent of respondents in the three prefectures said they believed their houses were safe. The survey also showed that 76.7 percent did not feel an urgent need to evacuate, and that 70.4 percent said their neighbors did not evacuate.

The Hiroshima Prefectural Government repeatedly called for an evacuation while it was still light on July 28 in order to prevent Jongdari from causing secondary disasters in areas that had been hit by the downpours earlier in the month. About 60 percent of respondents in Hiroshima were aware of the calls, according to the survey.

Evacuation advisories were issued for some 1.52 million people in Hiroshima but only some 6,000 took shelter, according to the prefectural government’s headquarters for disaster control.

“It’s necessary to improve ways of providing information to further raise awareness about evacuation,” said Katsue Edo, professor at Prefectural University of Hiroshima, who led the survey.

“Reporting anticipated rainfall amounts clearly, offering information about evacuation for areas divided into smaller regions and taking other steps is necessary,” Edo said.