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Deadly Japan typhoon underscores need for resilient societies, says Bartlett

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the passage of a powerful typhoon in Japan last week is a stark reminder of the urgent need for resilient societies effectively prepared to confront historic storms and extreme weather events.

Typhoon Hagibis crashed into the country last Saturday night (October 12), unleashing high winds and torrential rain across 36 of the country's 47 prefectures, triggering landslides and catastrophic flooding.

Bartlett, who is also co-chairman of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre(GTRCM), said the consequent loss of over 70 lives and disruption to daily activities with over 5,000 persons in shelters; 230,000 evacuees ahead of the storm; over 9,960 homes flooded, thousands of homes without electricity and water; and cancellation of World Rugby Cup 2019 matches highlight a few of the focus areas for immediate action in crafting resilience policies – energy, water, housing, transportation, health and sports tourism.

The tourism minister, in a statement today, said the tourism resilience centre stands ready to advance on discussions to establish a satellite centre of the GTRCM in Japan as both countries have a wealth of expertise, good practices and experiences in effectively managing the aftermath of natural disasters.

He said he has also reached out to Tourism Minister of Japan, Keiichi Ishii.

“I express deepest sympathies with you, the people and Government of Japan following the passage of super typhoon Hagibis which has claimed more than 70 lives and caused widespread destruction in its wake,” Bartlett said in a letter.

The trajectory and intensity of Typhoon Hagibis caused record rainfall in Tokyo with severe flooding as more than twenty rivers in the central and northeastern Japan had burst their banks. The repeated historic records of these natural disasters demand that resilience discussions and efforts be innovative and forward thinking to brace against nature's exponential increase in intensity and impact.

The establishment of satellite centres in countries such as Japan which have a track record of effectively responding to and recovering from natural disasters and other disruptions to sustainable development will enhance the growing body of research and innovative solutions to “build back better”.

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, launched earlier this year, was established to assist global tourism destinations with destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally, include climate and seismic events.


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