Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[Friday Seminar Recap] Reading Disaster Response in International Comparative Perspectives — Japan, China and New Zealand

Reading Disaster Response in International Comparative Perspectives — Japan, China and New Zealand

Speaker: Junko OTANI  
(Regional Director, East Asian Center for Academic Initiatives (OU Shanghai Office) &
 Associate Professor, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan )
Time: 12:30 p.m., Friday, 17 October, 2014  
Venue: Room 12 Humanities Building, New Asia College, CUHK

The seminar
Professor Otani’s talk focused on the post-earthquake recovery process in Christchurch with comparative perspectives of Japanese and Chinese experiences, especially the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and 2013 Wenchuan Earthquakes. Professor Otani’s research is based on the public health survey, media data and the ethnographic field notes which include the observation and interviews.

Dr. Junko OTANI
The Christchurch earthquake occurred on 22 February 2011 and is one of the major natural catastrophes from 1980-2012. The earthquake caused 185 deaths and significant physical damage. Jobs in most fields except the construction industry shrank after the earthquake. The earthquake also accelerated the budget cut for the universities; many departments in the humanities and social science faculties were closed in the University of Canterbury.

Like the Japanese and Chinese governments, the New Zealand government provided various kinds of support, including building temporary schools, rebuilding infrastructure, encouraging the citizen to move to other cities with more job opportunities, developing disaster related business, e.g. disaster tourism, and other necessary public services.

The attendants
One of the major differences between the New Zealand government and the Japanese and Chinese governments is the housing arrangement. After the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, the Japanese government provided free temporary housing, like the shelter and the public reconstruction housing, for the victims. As insurance is common in New Zealand, instead of using public housing, the victims lived in their friends’ home or used the compensation to rent housing at a market price.

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