Long-term Psycho-social Impact of Natural Disasters on Survivors in Japan


Over the past few decades, the frequency and severity of natural disasters have exacerbated. A resulting document from the 3rd UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2025 (SFDRR) , highlights the fundamental role of health in disaster risk management (DRM) and emphasizes the need of scientific evidence in this research area.

In practice, the majority of attention to DRM has focused on preparedness and response. On the other hand, the long-term psychosocial impact and needs of survivors during the recovery phase have not been well documented nor have there been studies of evidence about possible interventions.

WHO Kobe Centre (WKC), in cooperation with the National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP) and Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress, has brought together 21 Japanese experts to work on a comprehensive review of DRM in Japan with a focus on psycho-social interventions.

The expert consultation was held in February 2017. WKC in collaboration with NCNP is currently implementing a national survey to clarify current known and unknown factors for better psycho-social management after disasters. The results of the survey will be analysed and published including policy suggestions for 2018.

“The outcome of this project is expected to contribute to identifying the action areas for investment and to help improve the quality of life for disaster survivors over the long-term,” said Dr Ryoma Kayano, technical officer at WHO Kobe Centre.

The project will:

    • Identify fundamental gaps in knowledge and required actions in long-term psychosocial management for disaster survivors.
    • Contribute to evidence-based policy options for better long-term psychosocial management after disasters.
    • Provide scientific evidence for health emergency and disaster risk management by sharing lessons and evidence from Japan.