Nearly 40% of victims of heavy rains in western Japan hesitate to evacuate "Afraid of infection" 11:11 on July 3

Two years before the heavy rains in western Japan, which left 250 people dead or missing, NHK conducted a questionnaire survey of over 3,500 victims in the four prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Ehime, and Yamaguchi, where the damage was particularly severe. I found that nearly 40% were hesitant to evacuate to the shelters designated by the government. Many of them cite the risk of infection with the new coronavirus, and experts point out that the so-called 3 densely populated shelter environments should be given the highest priority.

From May to June, NHK conducted a questionnaire targeting over 11,000 victims of the four prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Yamaguchi, and Ehime, and received responses from 3540 people (32%).

When evacuation advisories or evacuation orders were issued due to heavy rain, etc., when asked if they would evacuate to an evacuation center designated by the local government, 36% of them "evacuate" and 24% of "want to evacuate". On the other hand, 36% were hesitant to evacuate, with 21% not wanting to evacuate and 15% not wanting to evacuate.

When asked why multiple answers were given, 43% said they were afraid of being infected with the new coronavirus and 41% said that they did not secure their privacy.

In addition, when asking multiple answers from local governments regarding evacuation shelters, both “infectious disease countermeasures” and “securing privacy” accounted for 60%.

Tatsuro Mitsuho (71) from Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, who responded to the evacuation shelter designated by the local government in a questionnaire, said that the Numata River flowing nearby flooded due to the heavy rain in western Japan, and Mitsuho evacuated. When I decided to evacuate to the place, I decided to stay on the second floor of my house because the water of the river rushed to my house.

The first floor was flooded to a height of 2 meters above the floor and left on the second floor overnight.

Mr. Mitsuyasu says "I felt life threatening," but he still hesitates to evacuate to the shelter "due to fear of new coronavirus infection." Since the evacuation centers designated by the local government were crowded with residents who evacuated during the heavy rain two years ago, if similar heavy rains occur in the future, many residents will overflow again and the risk of infection will be avoided. I don't think I can.

For this reason, Mitsuho decides to evacuate to an apartment in Hiroshima where his eldest daughter lives when he feels dangerous due to heavy rain. Since we are about 50 kilometers away, we decided to contact the eldest daughter and evacuate early. I am thinking of starting a move based on the information on evacuation preparations announced by the local government, in order to evacuate sooner after the heavy rains in western Japan.

Furthermore, in case we cannot move to Hiroshima city due to road fragmentation, we prepared to carry out a "night stay in the car" by loading a mask and food on a private car.

Mitsuyasu's eldest daughter, Minako Hatachichi, says, "I don't want my father to go to the designated shelter because he has a chronic illness. I want you to evacuate early because it will be reassuring if you are nearby." It was.

Mr. Mitsuyasu said, "I'm afraid to go to a shelter crowded with people before the new coronavirus infection subsides. I want to try to reach my daughter early."

Expert "Improving the evacuation center's environment with top priority"

Visiting professor Ichiro Matsuo of the University of Tokyo who is familiar with evacuation in the event of a disaster said, "We are facing a complex disaster of natural disasters and the new corona. , We should be prepared for distributed evacuation, where residents choose evacuation modes such as home evacuation and hotels.”