At the time of the North-Est Japan Earthquake (March, 11th 2011), I had a one-day business trip scheduled in Tokyo. It was the first time I experienced a massive seism and I feared for my life.
What did I do then? I just packed my bags and I escaped alone. I did this even knowing I should follow evacuation instructions. That night I saw the footages of the tsunami on TV and I was in shock. I had to do something. Half of the East of Japan was destroyed. That fact was mortifying.
In all the developed countries, only Japan let people sleep on the ground in shelters. The shelters are supposed to be primarily a place for the disaster’s survivors. The lives that were rescued should not be endangered in shelters.
As I was working on creating the current DanDan Box Bed (makeshift cardboard bed), I had the opportunity to discuss with doctors working in disaster fields. They told me about the effects of sleeping directly on the floor for a long period and the abnormal high risks of suffering numerous secondary health damages like economic class syndrome or disuse syndrome for example. In fact, the number of post-disaster related deaths after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake reached over 2300 and one-third were attributed to the poor quality of shelters’ environment by the Reconstruction Agency.
I remember going every week with one truck packed with beds to Tohoku (North-Est of Japan) and going around each shelters to ask them to use them.
However, almost all shelters did not accept the beds.
In fact, there was people suffering from the coldness in shelters, local telling me they wanted to use the beds and I provided them free of charge but how come beds weren’t accepted? Because nobody used cardboard beds in the past and the use of make shift beds was not written in disaster prevention manuals and emergency plans. If you change the system, using beds will become automatic.
With this idea, I began to work on suppling makeshift beds to administrations using disaster prevention agreements.
With disaster prevention agreements, I want to get rid of the Zakonne (sleeping directly on the floor huddled). A disaster prevention agreement is a contact between a cardboard company, like ours, and a local government made at ordinary times so that in case of disaster and if shelters are installed, the cardboard company will provide beds for the evacuees who are likely to live in shelter on a long term. Disaster prevention agreements are made to instore a system providing help immediately when a disaster strike.
Before any large scale disaster happen, we are want to sign disaster prevention agreements with every local government in Japan and also, build the system to provide cardboard beds in shelters just in disaster times.
I believe that DanDan Box Bed by improving the Quality of life in shelters can actively help prevent secondary health damages and reduce disaster-related lives. I will continue to promote cardboard beds and better conditions in shelters.
As of March 2016, we signed disaster prevention agreements with over 200 local governments in the country and we are building a system to deliver on demand cardboard beds to shelters after a disaster.