As Japan struggles to get a handle on the coronavirus, disaster response experts have urged governments nationwide to refurbish evacuation centers and beef up emergency measures so they can better respond in the event of natural and other disasters — especially during pandemics.

“Complex disasters are an imminent threat so we are asking you to start making every possible preparation to prevent and reduce the damage caused by such events,” Masako Yoneda, director of Japan Academic Network for Disaster Reduction, said Friday in an online statement.

“Torrential rains are becoming more frequent in Japan due to global warming ... and large parts of Japan saw floods that triggered landslides in recent years,” she said. "Evacuation shelters are usually set up when a disaster occurs, but with the looming threat of COVID-19 infections, it’s essential to rethink evacuation methods.”