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SPECIAL vol.29 The key to administer an evacuation shelter is “community strength”
by vff admin - Thursday, 11 February 2016, 08:03 PM

The key to administer an evacuation shelter is “community strength”


I was the person in charge of public administration at an evacuation shelter based at local primary school. The evacuees and all the staff including me did not know how to manage the situation. However, I had an advantage in establishing good relationships with the evacuees because I had graduated from that primary school and also I was well-integrated into this community for many years as a boys’ baseball team coach.

Since everything was lacking at the beginning, sometimes we heard people yelling at each other. But thanks to the strong unity that is characteristic of the Shichigahama people, community-based management groups could be organized from an early stage. Based on these groups, the evacuees organized themselves voluntarily to manage things like meals, publicity, supplies and environment. That helped me to be aware of the importance of mutual understanding and support in case of disaster.


Also, when we started to have more time, we played music at dinner time, which was received favorably by the evacuees, or we practiced traditional Japanese “radio exercises” to warm-up every morning, which was the school principal’s idea. In these ways, we tried to make all kinds of efforts to be positive as much as possible even if we were facing a harsh reality.

I realized that the indispensable thing to overcome the disaster was the “community strength”.


Shoji Katsuya (53 years old)

Industry Division, Shichigahama town

Address at the time of disaster: Tooyama Area

Present Address: Same as above