The evacuation of thai citizens during Japan’s 2016 kumamoto earthquakes: An ICT perspective

Natt Leelawat, Anawat Suppasri, Panon Latcharote, Fumihiko Imamura

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    In April 2016, the Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan killed 50 people and injured more than 3,000. Because Japan is a primary tourist destination for Thai citizens, due in part to the current visa relaxation policy, many Thai people were visiting Japan when these earthquakes occurred. However, while a variety of public information related to the imminent danger and disaster response was broadcast and published, foreigners sometimes had little access to or understanding of local notices or instructions because of language barriers. This study researches the evacuation process for Thai citizens – including tourists, students, and residents from Thailand – in the disaster-affected areas during the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. Through prompt collaboration among the relevant organizations, particularly the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo, the evacuation of Thai citizens was successfully completed within a few days. Moreover, some other foreigners were also assisted by the Thai embassy. This paper presents an overview of the evacuation process, including the critical role of information and communication technology (ICT) in disseminating information, transmitting rescue requests, and providing emergency communications. The lessons learned from these efforts can be applied in future natural disasters, especially for foreign organizations working in similar capacities overseas. In addition, this study suggests disaster preparedness and response guidelines for tourists when traveling overseas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)669-677
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Disaster Research
    Issue numberSpecial Issue
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun


    • 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
    • Evacuation
    • Foreigners
    • Information and communication technology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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