I'm looking out my living room window as rain continues to pummel the Western half of Japan for the third day in a row. This isn't a normal summer rain storm in Japan. This is a massive storm, dumping up to 7 centimeters per hour of rain at its peak, and continuing for days. Rivers have turned violent, landslides are being triggered all over, and hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated all over, from Kyoto to Fukuoka. Two people are confirmed dead and 5 are still missing.
I'll keep this post brief and to-the-point:
The only priority at a time like this is to survive, which means staying informed, making good decisions, and communicating. In this regard, Kobe City is the Gold Standard of disaster management.
If you're an expat here with a Japanese iPhone, then you received the same alert I did on Thursday morning. Everyone's phone went off with a blaring alarm and a warning about the rains, advising people to take safety precautions.
What you may not know is that Kobe has some incredible resources at work to keep the community informed. One key resource is the Twitter account @kobecityPR, which communicates critical updates and advisory messages in English, as well as other reminders. Follow this account right now, and pay attention to all their tweets. For example, last night's 21:00 JST tweet:
【21:00 July 6】The record heavy rainfall has been continued in Kobe and there is high risk of landslides and flood. Unless urgent and absolute necessary, please stay at home. If you cannot help but leave home, please keep yourself away from hazard areas including swollen rivers.
Another resource you should be aware of is Kobe's live updated hazard map. Right now one of the greatest risks is sediment disasters, landslides triggered from the massive rains. The other major danger is simply getting stuck without safety. The Kobe City hazard map provides a real-time view of all possible risks, and also identifies indoor and outdoor emergency evacuation points. The hazard map is available in Japanese and English, as well as Chinese and Korean.
Kobe also provides excellence resources in English and other languages, including:
Please be safe everyone.