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East Asia Forum

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Alongside COVID-19, many communities around the world have suffered long-term shocks and stressors from the many natural disasters that have ravaged the Earth in the past year. These natural disasters include the bushfires in Australia, the flooding in North America and Europe, lethal heatwaves in Oregon, and lastly the mudslides in Japan. In this article, we learn how Japan’s utilization of both Civic and Social Infrastructure has helped to not only build resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities when faced with natural disasters but has also helped in greater ways, like reducing projected mortality rates.

Policymakers often respond to disasters by falling back on standard responses involving physical infrastructure and mega-projects which have proven to be costly, perhaps it’s time to take a page out of Japan’s response to natural disasters and put less emphasis on investing in physical infrastructure and more on disaster risk reduction strategies that center on social infrastructure.