On March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan. Now the World Bank and the Government of Japan have launched a joint knowledge-sharing project called "Learning from Megadisasters". In the framework of this project, a study containing 32 thematic Knowledge Notes were published last week. They include six thematic clusters:
- Structural measures
- Nonstructural measures
- Emergency response
- Reconstruction planning
- Hazard and risk information and decision making
- Economics of disaster risk, risk management, and risk financing.
The notes also place emphasis on the use of satellite imagery as in Knowledge Note 5-2 "Risk and Damage Information Management": "By combining exposure data with satellite images and aerial photographs, post-event damage assessments can be carried out with reasonable accuracy. Japan’s experience with the disaster of March 2011 demonstrates that having exhaustive data on exposure expedites the damage assessment process, thereby reducing the time required for compensation payments and insurance payouts." Knowledge Note 3-2 "Emergency Communication" underscores the importance of satellite phones during the response phase.
"We hope aid practitioners will find the knowledge notes useful, as they include some novel findings such as importance of education that would percolate into people's behaviour," said Kazushige Taniguchi, the World Bank's special representative to Japan.