阪神・淡路大震災の日 防災とボランティアの日

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Day

Disaster Prevention and Volunteer Day
(January 17th)

●阪神大震災 the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
●関東大震災 the Great Kanto Earthquake
●地震 earthquake; quake
●地震の seismic
●大地震 big earthquake; great earthquake; severe earthquake; destructive earthquake
●海底地震 submarine earthquake
●火山地震 volcanic earthquake
●地震計 seismograph; seismometer
●地震学 seismology
●地震学者 seismologist
●震災 earthquake disaster
●震源地 seismic center; epicenter; center of an earthquake; center of a disturbance
●震度 seismic intensity
●マグニチュード magnitude
●余震 aftershock; secondary shock
●(家屋・高速道路など)崩壊する (to) collapse; (to) fall down; (to) crumble (to the ground)
●全壊する (to) be completely destroyed
●亀裂ができる (to) crack; (to) be cracked
●圧死する (to) be crushed to death
●火事 fire
●大火 major fire
●津波 tsunami; tidal wave
●ボランティア volunteer
●避難命令 evacuation order
●避難場所;避難所 disaster shelter
●避難する (to) take refuge; (to) evacuate
●避難訓練 evacuation drill; fire drill
●避難梯子 fire escape
●防災対策 disaster prevention measures
●防災計画 disaster prevention plan;  (万一の場合)代替[防災]計画 contingency plan
●防災用品 emergency supplies
●非常持ち出し品 emergency kit
●応急手当薬;救急箱 first aid kit
●身の回り品 personal effects
●懐中電灯 flashlight
●ラジオ radio
●飲料水 drinking water
●缶詰 canned food

On the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Day, every year, many people offer a silent prayer at the exact time when the quake occurred.

A quake memorial ceremony is also held in each of the areas that were devastated during the quake.

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake happened at 5:46 am, January 17th, 1995 (Heisei 7th yr).

The 7.3 magnitude quake caused tremendous damage in the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture and neighboring areas.

The epicenter was in the northern part of Awaji Island, and the depth was about 14km below the earth’s surface.

The gap of Nojima Active Fault, which moved both vertically and horizontally by about 1m to 2m, is still preserved and displayed as it is at the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum in the Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park.

Devastating vertical and horizontal shaking occurred simultaneously, and many aftershocks of various levels followed for several months.

The death toll was about 6,400 and the injured numbered around 44,000.

A great number of houses, buildings, highways, railroads, and harbors were destroyed.

Collapsed houses totaled about 440,000, and about 7,500 houses were burnt to the ground.

Services such as water supply, gas, and electricity were cut, as well as telephone lines.

The reconstruction took many years of tremendous effort, and a huge amount of money.

Volunteers played an important role in the support for the victims and reconstruction of the city.

Immediately after the Earthquake, a total of 1,400,000 volunteers rushed to help, not only from the whole country but also from many foreign countries.

Companies, universities, as well as religious, medical, and architectural organizations volunteered to help the needy, and a great many individuals also gathered on their own initiative.

It was the first volunteer experience for most people, therefore, 1995 (Heisei 7th yr) is called the First Volunteer Year.

This case made people take notice of the importance and the necessities of disaster prevention and volunteering.

January 17th was declared Disaster Prevention and Volunteer Day in 1996 (Heisei 8th yr).

Every year, from January 15th to 21st, Disaster Prevention and Volunteer Week is held.

Many events such as evacuation drills, lifesaving drills, meetings, discussions, and blood donations are held during this week.

Nowadays, many of companies and local governments introduce the system of a volunteer holiday: employees or workers can take a holiday for a volunteer activity, however, not so many people use this system yet.

Japanese are not so interested in volunteer activities as people in the Western countries, except for some volunteer workers and organizations, and there are big problems of labor and fund shortage for volunteer activities.

Seismologists have forecast that in the near future, three severe earthquakes will occur; the Tokai Earthquake, the Tonankai Earthquake, and the Nankai Earthquake.

Huge tsunamis as well as earthquakes are expected to cause extensive damage.

The administrative agencies, private enterprises, and citizens must work together for earthquake and tsunami prevention measures.

Individuals also need to prepare to save themselves and take as many safety measures as possible: confirmation of evacuation routes and places, preparation of emergency take-out bags and several means of communication and more.

Inside houses, damage can be reduced by using safety devices against overturning of furniture, hardened glass or glass shattering preventive sheets.

(Please see “Our Experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake” for further information.)


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