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Japanese earthquake prompts emergency response

Japan earthquake

BU expert says that communication systems will feel the strain as Japan responds to the aftermath of today's natural disaster.

A Bournemouth University expert in disaster management has commented on the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan earlier today.

Richard Gordon, Director of the University’s Centre for Disaster Management, said that Japan has worked tirelessly to ensure that early warning and response systems are in place and working well to support the public for situations like the one unfolding. But he expressed his concern that communication systems will be under strain as hundreds of people both in and out of Japan try to contact family and friends affected by the situation.

“People are now making hundreds of telephone calls to find out if members of their family are alive,” said Gordon. “The mobile phone network will be at capacity and it will be interesting to see if it can handle the pressure or will invoke procedures limiting access to public calls to emergency services.

“One of the key things is that there is going to require a lot of work on casualty tracking since many families will have been divided,” he continued. “The quake struck at around 2.00 pm in Japan which means schools will have been still working, so many people evacuating will have the added stress of trying to reach their children.”

Gordon and his colleagues within BU’s Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) provide world-class training and expert technical assistance to government departments and agencies at all levels, non-governmental organisations, inter-governmental organisations, and many other people who have responsibility for managing disasters of all types.

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