ICHARM, together with the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), has been conducting research on approaches to managing social infrastructure that is exposed to increasingly severe rainfall and deterioration. As part of this effort, on June 15, 2023, ICHARM and GRIPS jointly hosted a forum to discuss the future of basin-scale flood management and social infrastructure maintenance, discussing recent cases of major flood disasters and social infrastructure accidents. The forum, chaired by Professor SUZUKI Hiroto of GRIPS, was held at the GRIPS conference room and simultaneously streamed online. A total of 196 people participated, including 60 in person and 136 online.
The forum opened with opening remarks by GRIPS President OTA Hiroko and ICHARM Executive Director KOIKE Toshio, followed by remarks by Mr. YOSHIOKA Mikio, Vice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT), and Mr. ISE Katsumi, the vice president of the East Japan Railway Company.
The forum consisted of two parts. The first part took place under the title of "How to Overcome Infrastructure Crisis: Infrastructure accidents and required maintenance." It started with a keynote speech, “Overview and causes of Polcevera viaduct accident in Italy,” by Dr. MUTSUYOSHI Hiroshi, a professor emeritus of Saitama University. He addressed aging as a pressing issue for bridges, citing the Porchevera Viaduct in Italy, which was the most serious structural accident in recent years, and the Myoko Ohashi Bridge, which is undergoing deterioration. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Dr. KABAKI Yoko, the chief senior engineer of the Eight-Japan Engineering Consultants Inc., and joined by three panelists, Dr. IEDA Hitoshi, a senior professor of GRIPS, Dr. NOZAWA Shinichiro, the director of the East Japan Railway Company Structural Engineering Center, and Dr. MIKI Chitoshi, the president of Tokyo City University.
The second part was titled "Climate Change and Major Flooding: The Severe Floods in Pakistan and Japan's Flood Control in River Basins" and featured two keynote speeches: "Summary and Causes of the 2022 Floods in Pakistan" by Dr. Khalid Mahmood Malik, the chief meteorologist of the Flood Forecasting Division, Lahore, the Pakistan Meteorological Department, and "Flood Countermeasures in Pakistan" by Dr. Syed Sanaullah Shah, a risk assessment expert, in place of Dr. Syed Salman Shah, the director general of the Sindh Province Disaster Management Department, who had to direct emergency response efforts for an ongoing cyclone disaster.
Dr. Malik first outlined a flood forecasting system that Pakistan introduced with help from Japan, which consists of a radar system and an automatic meteorological observation system. He continued explaining that the rainfall-prone area in the country has been shifting westward due to climate change, expanding the flood-vulnerable area. He also reported that Indus-IFAS, a flood forecasting system that the country installed with the support of ICHARM, has been performing excellently.
Dr. Shah delivered a presentation about the types of floods in Pakistan and the responsibilities assigned to individual organizations according to the flood types. In his presentation, he first listed the types of floods that occur in Pakistan: fluvial or river floods, pluvial or flash floods, coastal floods, inland or urban floods, and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), and then explained how each of them is managed through concerted efforts involving different organizations. In the case of fluvial or river floods, the Federal Flood Commission and the Flood Forecasting Division of the Pakistan Meteorological Bureau monitor the floods, the irrigation department of each province takes control measures, and district or state disaster management agencies conduct emergency response efforts. Mr. Hassan Haren Hote, a doctoral student studying at ICHARM, also presented a short report on comparison between the 2010 and 2022 Floods.
Presentation by Mr. Haren, ICHARM/GRIPS
Another panel discussion took place, moderated by Professor SUZUKI Hiroto of GRIPS, with Professor NAKAKITA Eiichi, the director of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Professor CHIBANA Takeyoshi of GRIPS, and Professor OHARA Miho of the Center for the Integrated Disaster Information Research of Tokyo University, discussing the impact of climate change and how the basin-scale flood control should be carried out, as well as the challenges in communicating information on weather, rivers, and other relevant factors. Professor Nakakita explained that as the amount and intensity of precipitation increase due to climate change, the peak flow rate of rivers also increases. He added that since prehistoric volcanic ash still remains piled up in eastern Japan, it may also be necessary to review landslide control measures in the future. Regarding basin-scale flood control, Professor Chibana commented that although the policy is sometimes referred to as "distribution of disadvantages," it is important to look at the positive side of the policy. He stressed that the policy encourages all stakeholders in the basin, including residents and managers of roads, railroads, river structures and other infrastructure, to build consensus while sharing relevant information. Referring to two types of information, "instructional information" and "situational information," Professor Ohara said that it is important to train ourselves in advance to be able to sort out these types of information in the face of disasters by learning lessons from past disasters. She also said that society should be more tolerant of science and technology.
Senior Professor IEDA Hitoshi of GRIPS concluded the forum with closing remarks.
Unfortunately, a cyclone hit the coastal areas of Pakistan on the day of the forum. However, it did not affect the online participation from Pakistan. The organizers are very grateful for the efforts made by both sides, particularly the Pakistani side joining the forum in the midst of the worrisome situation.
ICHARM hopes to make use of the knowledge and networks gained through these forums and other events for future research and development that will transcend disciplinary boundaries and contribute to building communities that are resilient to water-related disasters. ICHARM would appreciate collaboration and input from a wide range of people.
|Discussion moderated Prof. SUZUKI|