Incident Handling Please answer the following questions in no more than two pages:What were the critical planning oversights highlighted in the article?Wha

Incident Handling Please answer the following questions in no more than two pages:What were the critical planning oversights highlighted in the article?What recommendations would you have for Japan’s new DR/BC planning?What recommendations might you have for Wilmington University? SHIBATA_LAYOUT_Layout 3/4/14 11:12 AM Page 44
Analysis of and Proposal for a Disaster
Information Network from Experience
of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Yoshitaka Shibata, Iwate Prefectural University
Noriki Uchida, Saitama Institute of Technology
Norio Shiratori, Waseda University
Recently serious natural disasters such as
earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and hurricanes
have occurred at many places around the world.
The East Japan Great Earthquake on March 11,
2011 had more than 19,000 victims and destroyed
a huge number of houses, buildings, loads, and
seaports over the wide area of Northern Japan.
Information networks and systems and electric
power lines were also severely damaged by the
great tsunami. Functions such as the highly
developed information society, and residents’
safety and trust were completely lost. Thus,
through the lessons from this great earthquake,
a more robust and resilient information network
has become one of the significant subjects. In
this article, our information network recovery
activity in the aftermath of the East Japan Great
Earthquake is described. Then the problems of
current information network systems are analyzed to improve our disaster information network and system through our network recovery
activity. Finally we suggest the systems and functions required for future large-scale disasters.
The East Japan Great Earthquake on March 11,
2011 caused severe damage across the wide area
of Northern Japan. A massive 9.0 earthquake
destroyed a huge number of buildings and enormous amounts of equipment, and the devastating tsunami, more than 15 m , swept over cities,
towns, villages, and coastal residential areas in
the northern part of the country, as shown in
Fig. 1. This tragedy shocked the world, and the
numbers of about 15,841 dead and 3490 missing
persons are still increasing today [1].
Many Japanese coastal residential areas were
also geologically isolated [2]. The communication networks such as Internet, cellular phones,
and fixed phones could not be used after the
huge shakes. Furthermore, there was a
widespread blackout over northern and central
Japan [3, 4]. The loss of the ability to transmit
disaster information caused delay in rescuing vic-
0163-6804/14/$25.00 © 2014 IEEE
tims, conducting people to shelters, confirming
safe resident evacuation and urgent medical
treatment just after the disaster. In order to
quickly recover the information infrastructure of
several local government offices and evaluation
offices in the disaster areas, our disaster volunteer team, which was made up of our network
research laboratory students at Iwate Prefectural
University, went out to the disaster area.
Through the our recovery activity, we were able
to find serious problems with the information
network and system in the coastal areas, and we
learned that a new robust and resilient communications method was strongly required to transport significant information even when severe
disasters occur.
In the following, the scale of the Great East
Japan Earthquake is explained. Next, our disaster information network recovery activities in
several of the disaster areas are shown. Then,
through a posteriori investigation in the disaster
areas, the problems of information network
methods in disasters are precisely discussed.
After that, effective means of communication
during disasters are discussed.
In the history of of major earthquakes in world
history, the Great East Japan Earthquake was
the fourth largest earthquake, following the
Great Chile Earthquake in 1960 (M9.5), Great
Alaskan Earthquake in 1964 (M9.2), and Indian
Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in 2004 (M9.1)
[5], as summarized in Table 1. Moreover, this
large-scale earthquake also brought serious secondary disasters such as blackout, fire, nuclear
crisis, and electrical power supply failure.
The disabling of information network systems
also brought many serious problems over a wide
area of Japan, such as the isolation of damaged
cities, lack of communication means, and delay
of rescue. Compared to recent historical severe
earthquakes in Japan, such as the Hanshin-Awaji
Great Earthquake in 1995 and Chuetsu Earth-
IEEE Communications Magazine • March 2014
SHIBATA_LAYOUT_Layout 3/4/14 11:12 AM Page 45
quake in 2004, there were many different problems because lifestyles have been dramatically
changed by the recent highly developed information society. Since cellular phone services have
greatly increased over one decade, the damage
and congestion of cellular phones caused serious
problems for rescue activity, resident safety confirmation, food distribution, and medical treatment. The lack of disaster information is
considered a main reason for these delayed
activities. Moreover, the lack of fuel and electricity also caused the delay of rescue and support activities for the evacuators.
The authors’ volunteer team was organized
mainly by the graduate and undergraduate students in our research laboratory of Iwate Prefectural University for supporting evacuated local
governmental offices and residents in the coastal
areas just after the disaster in order to recover
information networks and support residential
lives in the evacuation shelters. They were well
trained for reconstructing information networks,
and setting client PCs and server systems to connect to the Internet using wired and wireless
LANs, mobile 3G routers, and satellite IP network devices as shown in Fig. 2.
Even after a week after the earthquake, there
was still less information on the coastal side of
Iwate prefecture at that time. Tragic tsunami
news were aired repeatedly, but there was a lack
of information about many residential lives and
damage in the area because phone, Internet, or
email communication could not perform their
functions in the coastal cities.
In our volunteers’ activities, many problems
had to be overcome to reach the severely damaged area. First of all, it was difficult to obtain
gas for our truck. A lack of fuel, including gas
and heating oil, had spread throughout northern
and middle Japan, and the lines of cars waiting
for gas became over 3 km long around our university. Thus, we spent one week obtaining fuel
for our truck to go out to the disaster areas.
Second, sudden lower temperature froze
mountain roads. Our university is located in the
middle of Iwate prefecture, and it is about 100
km away from the coast. However, our truck had
to cross over a mountain pass to get there, and
the frozen road made it very difficult for many
rescue vehicles to reach the disaster areas. Thus,
the lack of gas and frozen roads delayed our rescue activities on the coast.
One week after the disaster, our volunteers
could reach Miyako city, to participate in the
activities conducted by the self-defense force at
the tragic disaster scene. Our volunteer members
could quickly recover the information network
infrastructure in the local government offices
and evacuation shelters in various cities. Particularly, our laboratory students could work well on
setting up network devices and servers to connect to the Internet in the tragic disaster scene,
although some of our students suffered from
post traumatic stress disorder after going back
IEEE Communications Magazine • March 2014
Figure 1. The East Japan Great Earthquake in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
Great Chile Earthquake in 1960
Great Alaskan Earthquake
2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
and Tsunami (off the west coast
of northern Sumatra)
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Dead 15,841
Missing 3490
(12 21, 2011)
Kamchatka Earthquake
Great Chile Earthquake in 2010
Ecuador-Colombia Earthquake
Rat Islands Earthquake, Alaska
2005 Sumatra Earthquake,
Table 1. Large-scale earthquakes in the world.
Through the recovery activities, we found and
encountered many problems with information
network infrastructure in disaster areas. The
main problems of our network relief activities in
disaster areas are:
• Fuel shortage for cars delayed the rescue
• Electricity power supply and batteries for
information network systems were damaged.
• Network devices and servers were damaged.
• Wired networks were completely disconnected.
• The cellular phone system was damaged
and congested.
• The Government Disaster Radio System
broke down
SHIBATA_LAYOUT_Layout 3/4/14 11:12 AM Page 46
Figure 2. Network recovery by Iwate Prefectural University students.
9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00
Figure 3. The numbers of calls by cellular phone on March 11, 2011 in Northern Japan.
• TV broadcasting could not be watched.
• Resident safety information and disaster
information were reported only by handwritten papers at many evacuation shelters.
These problems should be precisely investigated and analyzed to improve the current disaster information system.
One of the main problems of information
network systems was traffic congestion due to
the rapid traffic generation of the cellular
phone system. According to the Ministry of
Internal Affairs and Communication, the
numbers of call requests on cellular phones
just after the earthquake were more than 10
times larger than the usual case, and the maximum call control ratio of voice communication went up to 95 percent, which means that
only one person out of 20 people could use
phone service [6].
In the northern part of Japan, heavily
damaged by the earthquake, the congestion
in the cellular phone system was severely
heavy. The numbers of call requests went to
about eight times larger than the usual case,
and the maximum congestion time was
about 30 min just after the earthquake as
shown in Fig. 3.
Thus, cellular phone services were not available for a long time after the earthquake and
caused serious communication problems in a
wide area of Japan. As a result, not only the
damage of network devices but also the congestion of cellular phones are considered as the reasons the serious lack of disaster information,
such as about rescues, evacuation shelter, and
safety information occurred.
Moreover, in the disaster area such as the
coastal area of Iwate prefecture, many wired
networks and servers of the telecommunication
companies were broken down by the huge tsunami. Therefore, fixed phone, broadband Internet
services, and even the local government network
system were out of service. The public web services and email systems in the Iwate prefectural
office as the countermeasures headquarters were
also down. This failure caused serious informatics isolation of the coastal cities in Iwate prefecture.
On the other hand, some information network
systems were considered useful in disaster
areas. In our network recovery activities on the
coast of Iwate prefecture, satellite systems for
Internet such as IPSTAR and wireless LANs
functioned well for reactivating the network
communication systems. Although there were
problems with lack of electricity, both systems
were used to quickly reactivate in some evacuation shelters and disaster countermeasure
The East Japan Great Earthquake caused
many problems such as rescue, food distribution, and evacuation responses. Malfunction
of information network systems was a part of
major problems after the earthquake. In particular, the lack of disaster information such
as the safety of evaluated residents, damage
scale and degree of houses, buildings, lands,
roads, bridges, seaports, and so on brought
much confusion to various activities. Table 2
is a summary of various information networks
and their functional conditions in Iwate Prefecture obtained through our network recovery activities.
Although a satellite system does not have higher
speed than a broadband network service such as
fiber to the home (FTTH), the main traffic on
the Internet under the emergency situation
information was text-based contents such as
email, web-based resident safety information,
and social network systems (SNS). Therefore, a
satellite system was practically useful even in
such an emergency situation because this system
could be used anywhere, even disaster areas,
with portable power supply. Wireless LAN also
worked practically for temporal network recon-
IEEE Communications Magazine • March 2014
SHIBATA_LAYOUT_Layout 3/4/14 11:12 AM Page 47
struction since the inside of public buildings such
as local governmental offices were damaged by
the disaster.
Radio broadcasting, especially local community
FM broadcasting, was very useful. Since most
of the evacuation shelters and offices did not
have electricity just after disaster, radio broadcasting was the only way to obtain local disaster
information. Community FM stations could
broadcast the required information specific for
the evacuators in the disaster areas such as residential safety information of families, medical
and hospital information, food distribution
information, and local administrative information, while major radio stations broadcasted
more general disaster information such as lifeline information and transportation information
in the wide areas.
The Internet was used in various ways for
many activities in the Great East Japan
Earthquake. Although the Internet utilization rate was 74.7 percent before the earthquake in northern Japan, the rate greatly
decreased to about 20 percent just after the
earthquake. This was because many Internet
services in Northern Japan were unavailable
due to the damage and congestion of the
information networks. Then it took about
from one to two weeks to reactivate temporal
network services around Morioka, Iwate prefecture, Japan.
Since most of the temporary houses for
evacuators were located on the mountainside,
Internet services were not originally provided.
Therefore, temporal communication cabling
wa s ne e de d t o c o n s t r u c t n e t w o r k i n f r astructure for the area. There were many temporal housing areas where Internet service by
wired networks such as FTTH were not available even after several months. However, a
satellite network and fixed wireless access
(FWA) were installed for those areas supported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
The Iwate Information Highway, which was a
wired backbone information infrastructure in
Iwate prefecture and connected all of the local
government offices in the cities, towns, and
villages in Iwate prefecture, was severely damaged by the earthquake. The local government
office networks of the cities and towns in the
coastal areas were also completely damaged by
the tsunami. They reconstructed temporal
LANs to communicate with the countermeasure headquarters in the prefectural office and
inside organizations such as fire stations,
schools, hospitals, and road surveillance
offices. Moreover, since most information
servers of the local governments were damaged, disaster information was not available to
the residents of Iwate prefecture. Therefore,
they used the Internet to share disaster information through blogs and SNS a couple of
days after the earthquake.
IEEE Communications Magazine • March 2014
Radio broadcasting

Local community FM stations
functioned particularly well.
TV broadcasting
Cannot be watched due to
widespread blackout.
Fixed phone
Line disconnection and damaged
central office and remote
Cellular phone (voice)
Traffic congestion and damaged
base stations
Internet (wired, wireless,
and mobile networks)

Worked depending on communication lines
Local government
information supper
Line disconnection, power supply
failure, and damaged network
LANs in local government
Line disconnection and damaged
network devices.
Local government radio
system for disaster

Damaged base stations and relay
Personal analog radio

Worked well between licensed

Quickly recovered information
infrastructure after disaster
Satellite IP system

Quickly recovered information
infrastructure after disaster
Table 2. Large-scale earthquakes in the world.
Medical organizations also used the Internet for
temporal communication between local and central hospitals. Not only evacuation shelters. but
also all local hospitals and central hospitals were
disconnected from communication in Iwate prefecture just after the earthquake; then temporal
LANs were quickly constructed between shelters, local hospitals, and central hospitals to
enable use of the Internet.
Disaster volunteers used the Internet as the
communication means for their various activities. They shared disaster information by SNS,
disclosing the evacuated residents lists on each
evacuation shelter by web broadcasts and confirming road conditions by a GIS map. Compared to the case of other previous Japanese
earthquakes, there were many new trials using
the Internet by the disaster volunteers on the
earthquake. Because of the recent developments
in information and communication technology
such as smart phones, tablet terminals, wireless
broadband services, web services, and SNS, were
well functional. Thus, the Internet is expected to
perform more important role as communication
tools not only in normal state but also in emergent state.
SHIBATA_LAYOUT_Layout 3/4/14 11:12 AM Page 48
Time (total hours)
Figure 4. Network conditions in IPU under disaster.
Although there have been many problems
regarding the information network and system
by the Great East Japan Earthquake, some
communication means could effectively work
in practice to reactivate the temporal network. This could be important for future studies of disaster information systems. The main
useful network systems through our network
recovery activities in Iwate prefecture are the
• The satellite IP system (IPSTAR) quickly
recovered Internet communication in many
disaster areas.
• A 3G router and a wireless network
(IEEE802.11 b/g/n) were used for many
governmental offices and evacuation shelters in temporal regions.
• A wireless network (IEEE802.11 b/g/j/n)
could be used for covering the disaster area
• A satellite phone system was fully used
(each local city government possessed two
• A cognitive wireless router by NiCT was
useful in the many shelters [5].
• Twitter, blogs, and SNS were practical for
realtime information sharing such as gas
station, transportation, foods, and ATM
The authors’ volunteer team also used Twitter for sharing disaster information about Takizawa village in which our university is located,
and Morioka city, which is the capital city in
Iwate prefecture.
Through our Twitter services, we realized
that electricity, fuel, food, and public transportation information as well as disaster information were strongly required for the residents.
Thus, since most of the communication means
were unavailable for a couple of weeks, the role
of Internet usage was important for communicating and sharing disaster information in Iwate
Through our disaster recovery experience, we
learned that network connectivity is very important, even though network conditions were worse
than usual. Unde…
Purchase answer to see full

"Order a similar paper and get 100% plagiarism free, professional written paper now!"

Order Now