Introduction: Potentially vulnerable population groups in disasters include the elderly and frail, people who are isolated and those with chronic diseases including mental health conditions or mobility issues. The disasters such as Queensland flood and Great East Japan Disaster in 2011, affected regions of Australia and Japan. This study is followed by two pilot studies in both countries after the disasters. While both countries have different evacuation centre procedures for evacuees, the issues regarding the role and responsibility across governments involving planning, setup and management of evacuation centres, demonstrate similarities and differences. Aim: This paper will report the preliminary findings of a pilot study undertaken with local government officials and humanitarian agencies in Australia and Japan concerning their involvement in planning for, setting up and managing evacuation centres for vulnerable populations in recent natural disasters. The objective is to illuminate the differences and similarities that both officials and agencies faced and the resolutions and lessons learned in the preparation of evacuation centres through this event. Methods: This is the final stage of the study. After completing analysis of both phases, a comparative framework to highlight similarities and differences was developed. Results: Governments’ role in relation to establishment of evacuation centres is legally defined in both countries. However, the degree of involvement and communication with non-governmental organisations from the planning cycle to the recovery cycle demonstrates different expectations across governments. Discussion: while the role of governments is clearly established in both countries based on the legal frameworks, the planning, set-up and management of evacuation centre differs.
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