An advisory panel to the government on Thursday called for simplifying evacuation advisories issued at the time of flooding to help residents flee to safe areas quickly.
Currently, an evacuation recommendation is first issued and an order follows under the second-highest level on the government’s five-tier flood warning system.
The panel proposed the government abolish the expression of evacuation recommendation. All residents will be asked to leave dangerous areas if an evacuation order is issued by local municipalities, according to the proposal.
The government plans to implement the change next year by revising the disaster countermeasures basic law introduced in 1961.
The highest-level warning will be issued when local municipalities conclude that it is already too dangerous to evacuate to shelters. Residents will be asked to stay in their homes or nearby areas with less risk of inundation and landslides.
The third-highest level in the system, currently calling for evacuation preparation and the start of evacuation by older people, will be changed to simply urge older people, those with disabilities or those who live in risky areas to flee.
Currently, the central government establishes a disaster management headquarters when a disaster occurs. It will be allowed to set up such a headquarters when there is a risk of a disaster so it can act quickly to coordinate a response among local municipalities.
The panel proposed that local municipalities be obliged to make efforts to create individual evacuation programs for people who are older, have disabilities or need support.
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