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Disaster & material management

At an earthquake, buildings, bridges, dams, factories, chimneys of factories and monuments collapse and the communication and power lines, sewer system and drinking water lines are damaged. These wastes block the roads, so the rescue and first-aid groups, related heavy duty machines can not reach the disaster areas easily. Also, due to the damage of the communication lines authorities can not obtain sound information about the extent of the disaster and give necessary orders to the related people because of the damage of the communication lines. The amount of the demolishing waste depends on the type of the area such as urban or rural area, intensity of the earthquake and the number of demolished buildings and facilities. When the amount of demolishing wastes is estimated, also the amount of the wastes generated during the repair and construction of wastes should be considered.

The composition of the demolishing wastes has been continuously changing due to the developments in the field of the construction materials. They generally contain iron, steel, aluminum, glass, bricks, asphalt, paper, lime, wooden materials, roof materials and some organics which contain non-hazardous synthetic materials. Thus, new technologies have been developed to process/recover/recycle these materials/wastes after the earthquakes.

 Earthquakes in Greece are strongly related to everyday life, within the country’s course in history. The strong earthquakes that have occurred in this, relatively limited, area of the eastern Mediterranean have affected the history, tradition, religion, arts, building habits, political, social and economic status for a very long time. The high seismic activity of the country is due to the fact that it is located at the boundary of the Africa-Eurasia convergence. Within this framework, the Anatolian plate rotates counterclockwise. From the west, the Adria microplate rotates counterclockwise. As a consequence, the Aegean microplate moves fast towards SW. The external Aegean area is subject to a general compressional stress field and the inner Aegean area experiences a general extensional stress field.

It is very difficult both for the public and the authorities to make sound decision under the negative physical conditions of the earthquake. Desired speed of disaster recovery (and at times, cost), often leads waste managers to alter the standard waste management hierarchy of source reduction, recycling and waste combustion/landfilling. Planning of the management of the construction and demolishing wastes covers applied technology, recycling/recovery centers and economic aspects.

Odysseus & Athena Institute, is preparing a set of guidelines, represent much of the best current knowledge and lessons learned on disaster waste management (from earthquakes in Greece) , and provide national authorities and international relief experts alike with sound and practical advice to help them manage disaster waste.


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