Staying on the topic of rivers and levees, let me quote from an Asahi editorial on June 14:
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is currently inspecting the safety of levees of all class-A rivers nationwide. By the end of last year, the ministry had examined about 60 percent of the levees. It found that more than one-third were not strong enough and needed enforcement. These embankments take up a total of 2,400 kilometers and must be constantly monitored.
The inspection found that parts totalling 55 km need fixing immediately. But the enforcement of these dangerous segments cannot possibly be done in time for this year's rainy season. The project will take three years to complete at a projected cost of 11 billion yen. In addition, there are 105 km of weak embankments for rivers managed by prefectural governments.
Clearly, measures to reinforce the weak parts of embankments must be implemented as quickly as possible. What is worrisome, though, is the fact that detailed information about the problem is not widely shared among residents in areas along the rivers.
The Internet would be an effective means to disseminate such information among people. The government should immediately publish all relevant details, including those concerning progress in the reinforcement work.
The English website of the River Bureau of The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has some general information about rivers in Japan, as well as assistance projects in a number of developing countries.
Levee, a word I think most of us didn't know until Katrina devastated New Orleans (From the feminine past participle of the French verb lever, "to raise", according to Wikipedia, that also notes that the term came into English use in New Orleans circa 1672).
Asahi Shimbun: Stormy weather
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