Third of Okinawa’s schools likely to be flooded in tsunami

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology published on Oct. 28 results of a survey of likely water damage to public schools in Japan in case of a tsunami.

On Okinawa, 215 of 732 public schools are assumed to become inundated and sustain damage in case of a tsunami. That is the second highest number in Japan following Osaka.  29.3 percent of public schools are likely to be flooded, which is four times the national average of 7.2%.  The survey concludes that because Okinawa is an island surrounded by ocean, it has more chances to sustain damage from the possible future tsunami.

83 Okinawan public schools, or 38.6%, answered that they are currently considering devising countermeasures against a flood, which is the third highest rate in Japan.

Of the 215 schools located in the danger zone 70 are kindergartens, 85 are elementary schools, 42 junior high schools and 18 high schools or specialty schools. However, regarding measures to improve their facilities against floods, about half of the schools, or 96 of them (44.6%), answered that “there are no plans to take additional measures against floods, because we are secure with our current facilities already.”

Some officials also criticize the criteria used for the results in the survey. According to officials at the Facilities Division of the Department of Education of Okinawa, “For example, even if a part of an athletic field becomes flooded, the survey counts the whole school flooded, when in fact, the school building itself won’t be damaged.”

However, there are many schools that say they have counter measures against floods under consideration.  This is mostly because those schools are planning to deal with the problem along with their regularly scheduled school facilities maintenance within a few years.