In March 2011, immediately after the earthquake, the Urban Infrastructure & Environmental Products Company established an earthquake recovery project with its own full-time staff. This project started by making the rounds of local governments and local disaster task forces in the affected areas to make a study of what kinds of materials and construction were needed, to carry out surveying and diagnostics of sewer and other pipes, and to support damage surveys, among other activities.
In April, construction began to install water pipes at temporary housing for evacuees in the city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture. Utilizing lightweight, highly flexible, easy-to-install polyethylene water pipes, this project was able to lay 1.6 kilometers of pipe in seven days in effect. Other construction projects conducted in the same city included extension of water pipes to temporary housing and installation of temporary piping to restore services previously provided by cast-iron piping that was washed away in the tsunami.
In addition, the city of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture was experiencing continued water-supply cutoffs after water pipes that had been installed on bridges were washed away in the tsunami. Sekisui Chemical worked to restore the services provided by these pipes by taking advantage of the strengths of polyethylene pipes, which are lightweight and easy to transport and also can be joined quickly.
Successively, the Group carried out a number of fast-paced construction projects including laying of water-supply pipes to temporary housing and evacuation shelters, restoration of water pipes in residential districts, restoration of damaged sewer pipes, and supply of electricity through underground cable pipes, all utilizing the strengths of plastic pipes: their outstanding flexibility, light weight, and ease of installation. Further work conducted included emergency repairs to retaining walls which had almost collapsed, using highly durable retaining wall panels.
In addition, Sekisui Chemical, which marks the 60th anniversary in 2012 of the introduction of Eslon HI PVC pipes, will donate part of the proceeds from sales of these and related products to local governments in affected areas.
The Tohoku and Kanto regions of Japan damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake include approximately 180,000 Sekisui Heim residences. Even when it could not yet check actual sites due to severance of the road network, the Housing Company estimated the impact of the earthquake and tsunami based on information it had on customers' homes and readied a system for responding to related damage. At the same time, it established emergency customer centers not just at Sekisui Heim sales facilities in the Tohoku region but in Tokyo as well. These centers received nearly 50,000 inquiries in total, including reports on damage and requests for emergency repairs.
In areas where the damage was said to be severe, it prepared an emergency inspection and diagnostics manual with a focus on the degree of damage from the earthquake and tsunami and on the near-term livability of residences, and then it conducted surveys in the affected areas. In addition to housing repairs, it also systematically addressed damage to fixtures, equipment, and interiors.
To realize swift responses to customer needs for repairs in light of the geographically widespread nature of the damage and the large number of damaged homes, it strengthened its repair structure in the Tohoku region through means including bringing together repair personnel from Sekisui Heim and Fami S (renovation section) facilities across Japan. Furthermore, it also cooperated in construction of temporary housing in response to a request made by the Japanese government to the Japan Federation of Housing Organization (Judanren), supplying temporary homes to areas including Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. Even after the completion of construction, it provides continual support such as additional construction to make the housing warmer during cold weather and construction of meeting places and lounges inside complexes of temporary housing.
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