Stockpile warehouses vital for disaster preparedness

A stockpile warehouse is vital when preparing for natural disasters.

This is a warehouse where relief supplies are kept in preparation for any disaster.

Relief supplies include food, water, blankets, radios, tents, masks and plastic tents.

Provinces and towns in Papua New Guinea should always be prepared as the country is prone to natural hazards like tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunami, flooding and landslides.

PNG and other Pacific Island countries can set up this type of warehouse to prepare themselves for any type of disaster.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake that caused a tsunami of 10 metres high on March 11, 2011, Higashimatsushima City was one of the areas that were hit hard by the tsunami.

The city is recovering at a fast rate compared to other areas and has established a stockpile warehouse about two years ago.

Higashimatsushima is located to the northeast of Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, with a population of about 40,000 people after the tsunami.

It faces Ishinomaki to its east, and Matsushima to its south. All three were affected by the tsunami.

The earthquake and tsunami caused disastrous damage to the city, leaving a permanent scar on both the city and the minds of its residents.

During the tsunami, 36 percent of the city area was submerged and out of the entire residential area of 12km square, 8km square was submerged.

From reports collected at that time, 8,553 buildings were totally destroyed, 2,501 were half destroyed and 3,510 partially destroyed, making a total of 14,564 damaged buildings.

In this area, 1,108 were reported dead and 25 missing persons were never found, though on the 11th of every month, searchers still comb the region for bodies.

The warehouse was constructed based on the Higashimatsushima Disaster Stockpile Plan.

Higashimatsushima warehouse manager Mitsumasa Otsuka said relief supplies must be stocked for at least three days before any help can arrive, especially from the government.

He is an expert in logistics and manages the warehouse, which currently has over 50 relief supply items that can benefit about 14,000 people in three days.

Otsuka explained that the stockpile warehouse was designed to smoothly accept relief supplies while providing them to all 25 evacuation centres in the area.

The warehouse was built by the city council with 24 smaller warehouses located throughout the city and temporary houses for affected citizens.

Other countries like PNG can also incorporate this idea.

PNG’s provincial governments and districts should budget for this and corporate companies can also assist in terms of donating goods.

Quintina Naime