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I repeated rehearsals and asked comments from non-specialists as well. At the interview, I talked about my project with some jokes. I am proud that I succeeded to make interviewers laugh during the interview! In the end, I think the strong motivation I had to perform my research was what allowed me to obtain the grant. Read further expert advice from Prof. Adreas Zeller on how to write ERC grant proposals. Can you tell us more about that: how did you manage to do it and what output was there to it?

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However, the interrelation over all lifelines had not yet been quantified at this time.


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To date, only a few studies have modeled earthquake events of lifeline interrelations using system dynamics, which have attempted to quantitatively evaluate the impact on other lifelines by stopping the supply of one lifeline [ 3 ]. Although a part of the restoration process can be understood using this method, the model becomes more complicated when the interrelationship is explained as if the entire lifeline of the urban area is overlooked.

If the model became complicated, multiple individual parameters are also required; thus, many assumptions may be involved to set the system correctly. Nevertheless, there are indices which further quantify the influence of an earthquake on lifeline disruptions. In ATC, the importance factor was suggested on the basis of a questionnaire administered to 13 specialists regarding the influence of earthquakes in California. This factor ranged from 0 to 1, indicating a decreased rate of production for 35 different industries when each lifeline service was interrupted. However, these values were not based on the results of an actual earthquake.

When this was applied to the affected areas in the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami, difference between the factor and the real results was observed, though the industrial type and scale were not the same as those of the ACT target set [ 8 ].

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While several studies have been conducted on lifeline interrelation, as described above, only a few have focused on the quantitative post evaluations of lifeline interrelations after earthquakes, much less those which quantitatively appraise the entire lifeline before an earthquake. By using the report on the damage and restoration of lifelines after the Tohoku earthquake in , this study relates the terms of other lifelines included in such reports to quantify lifeline system interdependencies and frequency-based incidents, proposing a new method to make this visible. Some studies have recently related the major research field of academic societies by way of text analysis [ 9 ].

Typically, the lifeline interrelation that occurs at the time of a disaster can change according to the type and scale of the hazard and the extent of each lifeline service outage. It has been considered that the extent of these influences is different for each earthquake shake; thus, it is necessary to examine the degree of hazard together with the lifeline outage. This study also aims to quantify the number of detected terms, as the meaning and usage of these terms and phrases are not always elucidated in detail. Therefore, while the value of the detection frequency has not always explained the interrelation directly, this method may then be useful to create relatively visible relationships across all lifelines.

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We infer that each lifeline system was considerably damaged as a consequence of the Tohoku earthquake. In Japan, individual lifeline authorities, local governments, and departmental ministries all published disaster reports due to this earthquake, describing the events in different volumes and various contexts. Here we use the disaster report prepared by a specific joint committee composed of seismology, civil engineering, geological engineering, architecture, mechanical engineering, and urban planning societies [ 10 ]. One of the volumes in the report comprises of six chapters Table 1 , with one volume focused on lifeline systems see in Figure 1.

This particular chapter is composed of the same material as that of a report prepared by a similar joint committee after the Kobe earthquake. In Part 3 of this report, some physical damage to roadways, railways, airports, harbors, and other transportation systems was not included, as they formed part of other volumes. The urban gas system was briefly described comparing with other lifeline systems, because a propane gas tank was used in many of the affected areas.


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  7. The number of affected consumers of gas systems in the Tohoku earthquake was found to be half of those found for the Kobe earthquake. In Japan, the water, sewage, and waste management systems are all managed by local governments or regional governments, whereas the electric power systems, telecommunication systems, and parts of the gas systems are widely managed through private companies. The report referred to in Table 1 was mainly written by these governments or companies, with the number of writers for chapters on electric power, telecommunications, and gas systems being fewer than those for the chapters of other lifelines.

    There are characters per page in the report. Selected terms were basically provided as nouns, with the terms displayed in Table 2 being English translations. These definitions were used as either single terms or as part of other terms. These hazard definitions were then classified into four different categories: 1 earthquakes, 2 tsunamis, 3 geo-hazards, and 4 liquefaction.

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    As liquefaction was found particularly remarkable for this earthquake, it was considered within other categories except for geo-hazards. Figure 2 shows the composition ratio of these terms. The number of hazard terms detected per page was found to be low for the chapter on waste management while exceeding beyond ten words per page for the chapters regarding gas, electric power, and telecommunication systems.

    The chapter on waste management systems focused on the processing and management methods of waste after the tsunami. The description of the hazard and the extent of damage were also quite brief.

    Conversely, the chapter on gas systems comprised of the damage analysis caused by seismic ground motion, while the chapter on electric power systems comprised of the damage to the facility as a function of seismic intensity. The frequency of the terms found in the earthquake category also increased for the chapters related to the gas and electric power systems. While damage to the other lifelines was mainly caused by ground motion, as the waste management plants were all located along the coast, they were unfortunately subjected to flood damage due to the resultant tsunami.

    For the chapter on waste management systems, many terms related to the processing of tsunami deposits were used. References related to liquefaction were also relatively high. An assessment analyzing lifeline interrelations was conducted using the terms detected from the aforementioned report. First, the lifeline-related terms were identified not only from the lifeline itself but also when the terms were associated with a given lifeline.

    Second, it was assumed that the use of lifeline-related terms implied that all other lifelines were affected. Last, the number of terms related to the lifelines was counted.

    Timeline of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and Japan Post’s response

    The report also described physical damage, suspension, and restoration of lifelines, and not necessarily those of other lifelines. The lifeline-related terms are divided into sets, as shown in Tables 4 and 5. The term related to nuclear power systems was set separately from those related to general electric power, considered the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was caused by an earthquake. It is important to examine the lifeline interrelations for the transportation system mentioned in Part 3, regardless of its exclusion in the civil engineering volume.

    The terms related to the transportation system were added and classified into those associated to roadways and bridges as well as those of traffic functions. In this case, several lifeline-related terms were set, where terms that were not detected or only detected two times or less were omitted in order to accurately identify the number of terms. Table 6 shows the number of detected lifeline-related terms in each lifeline chapter.

    In total, approximately terms were detected, where about of those were detected in the chapters of the gas and telecommunication systems, smaller number rather than other lifelines: however, no significant difference was found in terms of detected frequency per page. Figure 3 shows that the ratio of own lifeline-related terms, N self , relative to the detected terms was the same for each lifeline chapter.

    For example, the ratio indicates the number of water-related terms relative to all other terms in the water systems chapter.