【22】 Life in a Shelter
Life in a shelter involves much inconvenience.
Everyone needs to cooperate to get through this difficult time.

What is a Shelter?

   Shelters act as temporary accommodation that is generally set up at schools, community halls and parks in areas affected by a disaster, or in places subject to an evacuation advisory. Some residents’ associations and local disaster prevention groups have selected open-spaces or vacant lots in their respective areas to act as sites for such accommodation if the need arose.

① When should I go to a Shelter?

  1. If your house has collapsed, has been destroyed by fire or tsunami, has no electricity, water or gas, or is uninhabitable
  2. If your house is in danger of collapse in an aftershock or being buried in a landslide
  3. If you need to take shelter from fires or mountain tsunami

② The Four Rules of Living in a Shelter

  1. Keep on good terms with your residents’ association and local disaster prevention group
  2. Because you will be living in a shared space, stick to the rules
  3. To make your living space comfortable, cooperate and help each other out
  4. Be understanding of those with special needs, such as the ill, the aged, pregnant women and children.

③ Shelters Are a Source of Information and Help

  1. Shelters give out information about the earthquake and how to cope post disaster. They also distribute food and other necessities.
  2. They also provide temporary accommodation for people who cannot live in their own homes.

④ Who Comes to a Shelter?

Shelters give aid to a wide range of people, not just those who reside there. People who are still able to live in their homes, but must endure electricity, water and gas stoppages also use these facilities. They are also provided with food and the variety of services on offer.

⑤ Living Somewhere Other than a Shelter

   Some people do not go to shelters, but choose to take refuge by living in a tent, or in their car. If you chose this route, please be aware of your own health and safety.
   After the 2004 Niigata-ken Chuetsu Earthquake, some people lost their lives due to living in their cars. In such cramped conditions, blood clots formed in their lower limbs, then traveled to their lungs, brain or heart, blocking small blood vessels – otherwise known as economy class syndrome. Be sure to drink plenty of water, move around regularly, and wear loose clothing to prevent this condition.