Interview with Naoko Inada


Gabriela Igloria: What’s your name?

Naoko Inada: Naoko Inada.

GI: And how old are you?

NI: I’m 53.

GI: What neighborhood or area of Norfolk do you live in?

NI: Larchmont.

GI: And how long have you lived here?

NI: Oh, maybe we’re living here—how many years? So, my son was three. we move in, then he’s 19… 16 years, I think. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Gi: Yeah, have you lived anywhere else in Norfolk besides here?

NI: No, only here, this area.

GI: Only here?

NI: We move in different street to this street.

GI: Yeah, I heard you moved like a block over?

NI: Yeah.

GI: Is there a body of water close to where you live?

NI: Yes.

GI: Which one?

NI: The Elizabeth River.

GI: Elizabeth River?

NI: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

GI: And then, if you own a home, do you have flood insurance?

NI: Yes, we have flood insurance.

GI: Have you found it useful with any flooding issues that you’ve had over here?

NI: No, I don’t think we use some…

GI: Not yet?

NI: No, not yet—

GI: [Laughs]

NI: —no sorry, we haven’t so far. We couldn’t…

GI: Do you think that the flood insurance would make a difference if something ended up happening?

NI: Yeah, if you’re more comfortable to have flood insurance, in case we have high risk—

GI: Yes.

NI: —all that, you know…?

GI: Yes, we do have very high risk here.

NI: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

GI: And then, how do you prepare for flooding or things like hurricanes that amplify the effects of flooding here?

NI: Oh, we have electric generator, like this battery, we have two of those, if we have blackout, I use these for fridge, the fridge or something…

GI: Do you do any other preparations for flooding?

NI: Oh, we have water and food, and oh, I always fill the gasoline if it become half…

GI: Yes, yeah.

NI: Yeah, for escaping in case like…

GI: Yeah.

NI: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

GI: Have you ever had to evacuate or anything during a flood here?

NI: Yeah, we had… No, yeah, evacuate means voluntarily evacuation, I think?

GI: Mm-hmm [affirmative]…

NI: If your zone area or something…?

GI: Mm-hmm.

NI: Yeah, then we have to move, and yeah, but we didn’t move…

GI: And how have you experienced flooding here, or do you know any other neighbors of yours who have experience flooding?

NI: Like whenever we have rain, even regular rain, sometime when I go shopping, there are some flood in some streets, so I need to avoid to drive that street, yeah, it’s because it’s not good for the cars and some salty water coming inside I guess on the street, and yeah, like

even later we walk this neighborhood, and if we have rain or high tide, the flood, no, no, not—the flood is going on some street or by the, you know, it is just a river, so sometimes, we have to go back home because we cannot walk that stream.

GI: So, I also noticed that your house is elevated—

NI: Yeah, really elevated.

GI: —so that helps.

NI: Yeah, uh-huh [affirmative], it seems likely.

GI: Yeah, has the water ever come up to the steps?

NI: No, so far, we don’t have any issue—knock on wood.

GI: Can you tell me a little bit more about how you’ve witnessed flooding impact your community, so just the larger Norfolk community in general, or your neighborhood in general…?

NI: I think if we have a hurricane, I think some house may be destroyed and not able to live in the house. We have spend a lot money to rebuild the house or repair the house, and so far, we are OK, but there’s this high chance that may happen—

GI: Oh, yes.

NI: —if hurricane hit this area.

GI: Yeah. We live close to ODU, too. We’re—


GI: —a little closer to ODU—


GI: —so we’re right there at the waterside, too, and so, we get pretty bad flooding over there.

NI: Really?

GI: Yeah.

NI: Yeah, there are many places that have problems, but so far, I think we are OK, these 10 years or so, but I’m thinking of moving. We, maybe we need to move somewhere we’re little bit safer in a no-flood zone, in Norfolk somewhere. Somewhere, Granby area—there are no problem about flooding, I think as well. Maybe somewhere in the Norfolk, I guess…

GI: Right, yeah. So, what concerns you the most about flooding and sea level rise?

NI: I think this damage the economy in this area, too, I mean—

GI: Yeah…

NI: —probably, we are under the water with ODU, maybe navy base, that navy base is the biggest in the world, that navy base.

GI: Yes.

NI: If it goes under the water, a big problem, really huge issue for the United States.

GI: Yeah.

NI: Yeah, I guess, mm-hmm [affirmative].

GI: Yeah. The navy base is one of the areas that they’re hoping to put protective measures on first, so they’re planning to do things like flood walls so that—

NI: Oh, OK.

GI: —it blocks out a lot of the water and then—

NI: They’re trying to—

GI: —in some areas like here, they’re elevating houses like this one and doing all these other infrastructure things across the city, but not all neighborhoods are getting the same protection, so that’s something that a lot of people are worried about here.

And so, I was wondering what concerns you may have regarding future flood protections in Norfolk?

NI: Yeah, I think it’s the global warming that’s, aside many thing and, yeah, and then, we have hurricane issue, it’s a really concerning about how I was thinking of moving really, seriously thinking of moving somewhere safer, mm-hmm [affirmative].

GI: How soon would you be thinking about moving, do you think?

NI: After my son graduates college probably. We need to make some move, I guess.

GI: Right. How old is he?

NI: He’s 19.

GI: Oh, 19? So he just started college?

NI: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. So, [inaudible] years later, I think, we move to somewhere a little safer place, I hope… I don’t like this road, so a place in Norfolk or by the beach area, probably somewhere in terms of… to a city, I guess.