Strong winds and heavy rain are effecting today's clean-up efforts in Moore, Oklahoma, three days after the devastating tornado. More rain is in the forecast for this weekend. Associate Professor Ozlem Ergun is co-director of Georgia Tech's Center for Health and Humanitarian Logistics and explains what happens next in the clean-up process.
The local cleanup crews, with some expert help from the US Army Corps of Engineers, are beginning to start working on the piles of debris left after the tornado. Debris related operations include clearing the roads to provide accessibility, removing the debris to temporary sorting and staging sites, and disposing or recycling of the debris. These activities are very costly and on average equal a quarter of the disaster related costs. Furthermore, the authorities must make hard decisions. For example, if sorting of the debris is done during the removal process, then clearing the affected area will take longer. However, final disposal can be done in a more cost efficient and environmentally friendly way.
In some previous disasters, the officials have asked the local population to help sort the debris on site and gave incentives for this. This could be an option here as well. Also, given the composition of the debris different options for disposal and recycling exist. Recently, hurricane debris was sent from the US east coast to Italy for conversion to biomass.
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