Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kochi Life Q&A : Earthquakes

Q: I felt shaking! How do I stay safe?
A: If you’re at home, keep your head protected by crouching under a sturdy desk. Once the shaking has stopped, after turning off the gas at the mains, turn off the electrical circuit breaker. Check the exits are clear, and cover your head with a hard object when you go outside. Watch out for falling objects or things that could collapse, and make your way to a “hinanjyo” (shelter). Carry a radio so that you can receive updates on the situation. If you’re near the coast, don’t wait for official announcements to be given, but prepare for a tsunami and evacuate to “takadai” (high ground)

Q: What’s a “hinanjyo” ?
A: Institutions such as school gymnasiums and council halls etc. will be opened as “shelters” for evacuees. At these places you will be provided with food, blankets and any important information regarding how to cope once evacuated. People whose residence’s have been damaged or are at risk of being damaged, use these places if they are scared to return home incase their house collapses in an aftershock. Of course anyone can use these shelters. However, there are rules for the hinanjyo, and it’s important to follow these in order to maintain good relations with fellow evacuees. Many things may worry you, such as being unable to communicate with others there, or the lack of privacy, and you are likely to feel helpless in the situation, however try and make connections with those around you, as this will help distract you from your concerns.
Q: Generally speaking, what preparation is necessary?
A: For supplies, keep a minimum of 3 days worth of food and water stored at your home and work place. Water will not only be used for drinking but for things such as brushing ones teeth and washing hair, so ensure that you have a sufficient amount stocked up. A rough estimate for one person would be 3 liters per day. Also be sure at the very least to have sports shoes, a pocket torch, general medicine, sanitary products, a radio, cash, insurance documents, and your passport, packed in a bag that you can take with you in an emergency. For further information including how to secure furniture in your house, please refer to our “Preparing for the Nankai Trough Earthquake” booklet, which is available in a range of languages.


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