MIT LogoLong Term Recovery and Environmental Remediation
Planning to Rebuild the Infrastructure:

After the occurrence of a tsunami, it becomes a major task to reconstruct the physical infrastructure of the cities, towns, and any other disaster-stricken areas.  The plan that follows refers specifically to this aspect, specifically to the clearing of debris and the reconstruction of buildings, roads, and main utilities. Debris removal is prioritized simply because nothing can get done with garbage lying all over the place.  As in tidying a room (a problem of much smaller scale), one should first decide which objects are trash and proceed to make more room to work by eliminating those items.  This does not mean removing every little piece of junk from the area, however.  Removing debris means clearing areas of high traffic first to allow for most major operations to proceed.  The removal of debris from other, less traveled, areas comes at a later time.

Efficient debris removal will take place in both public areas and individual homes.  While the government is clearing out major areas, citizens should be clearing their land of debris.  The government should instruct the populace on how to dispose of their garbage.  Ideally, the citizens in one neighborhood would be able to drop their garbage in one designated area, which would be cleared periodically by public workers.  In addition, the government should advise citizens on how to dispose of hazardous materials such as car batteries.  In this part of the plan, funding inhibits the frequency of trash pickup and the amount of area cleared in any given time.  With more money, more area would be able to be cleared more quickly.

Somewhat overlapping the first step is the clearing and reconstruction of major transportation mediums.  For similar reasons, major roads and any important airports, seaports, and/or railways should be repaired immediately for four reasons.  First, it is necessary to free major transportation lines to allow citizens to travel freely at least to important areas (which areas are “important” is to be decided by the agency).  Second, major transportation lines should be free to allow for free and easy transportation of natural resources in and out of the disaster area.  Third, many other aspects of reconstruction rely directly on the ability to move large machinery from one place to another.  Again, as with debris removal, this does not mean rebuilding every single secondary road and side street.  Roads not immediately necessary for reconstruction should be left until other, more pressing, tasks are accomplished.

With 72,900 km of roads in Peru (Peru 2005), roads are the most important means of transportation in Peru.The Peru railways should also be prioritized, as they can prove extremely useful.  According to the Thailand Development Research Institute Quarterly Review, “In fuel efficiency, rail transport is much superior to road transport,” (Johnson 1993) which means it would allow for cheaper transport of materials throughout the country.  In addition, the railways connect coastal Peru to inner Peru, providing an important route for the transportation of resources from inner Peru to the coast for use in the reconstruction as well as for export to get the economy back on track.  Ports are also extremely essential, as Peru relies heavily on exports to fuel its economy.
In Micronesia, prioritizing transportation is much more complicated.  Roads are the main form intra-island travel.  This presents more of a challenge in Micronesia than in Peru, as there is not simply one large (or a limited number of) main highway(s).  Due to the small size of the islands, many of the main roads on these islands are on the scale of secondary roads in Peru regarding traffic, but are extremely important regarding their use.  As a result, reconstructing the main roads of Micronesia would mean reconstructing more roads than in Peru.  With inter-island transportation, seaports are extremely important for their economic uses as well as transporting extremely large loads.  Airports, however, are also extremely important, because it reduces transport time significantly, which is especially important in times of disaster.  Furthermore, the different capabilities of the islands make it even more impossible to prioritize one form of transportation over another.  Some islands are much smaller in size and cannot accommodate any large planes.  Fixing the main mediums of transportation in Micronesia seemingly means fixing all means of transportation.
Buildings are the next priority.  Buildings that are significantly damaged can lead to further deaths.  Buildings that are unsafe should be barricaded until such a time that the building would be repaired.  This specific phase will require the largest number of skilled workers and will also take the most time.  Each individual building will need to be repaired or reconstructed.  The most feasible way to handle this would be for the agency to take bids from various construction companies and grant the repair/reconstruction contracts to the lowest bidder.
For privately owned buildings and homes, the government should provide an assistance program that would help people rebuild when they are obviously in financial straits.  This assistance program would grant tax benefits to hardware and construction companies that agree to reduce their prices so that more people could afford them.  Another aspect of this would be the allocation of funds to individual families.  Any family could request financial assistance by filling out a form that lists the damages their property incurred.  Based on this damage report and financial status, families would be granted an amount of money to assist in the reconstruction of their home (much like determining financial aid to attend college).
Once buildings are repaired, Power and water should be restored to citizens.  The most sensible form of power to be used in Peru and Micronesia is hydroelectricity.  Both countries currently employ hydroelectric systems, but each would face different problems in the face of a tsunami occurrence.
In Peru, hydroelectric power is available through the tributaries of the Amazon.  Because of this, the power plants are located inland and would not be damaged by a tsunami.  The only power sources that would be damaged are those near the coast, which are not hydroelectric, but run on fossil fuels.  After a tsunami, it would be best to take advantage of the situation and make the complete transition to hydroelectric power, rather than rebuild the fossil fuel power plants.  The power plants would be safe from future tsunami damage, and would be much cheaper and cleaner (
In Micronesia, hydroelectricity is harnessed through tidal variations.  These plants are located right on the shore and would be significantly damaged by a tsunami.  However, due to the size of the islands, there is no source of electricity that would be any safer or easier to protect from tsunami damage, which points to the continuation of the use of hydroelectricity, which is cheaper and cleaner than the alternatives.
Secondary transportation means are the last step of the process.  It is important that other roads and such are repaired to restore the damaged areas back to their original state (or better).

Possible building materials:

 In my research, I studied several different types of building materials and weighed their strengths and weaknesses.  I arrived at the conclusion that there is not simply one material that is best for rebuilding.  Different buildings call for different materials.  Below is a chart showing the good and the bad of the materials I considered most usable.


Materials Table

**Note:  this data was taken from Gecko Stone, a construction company in Hawaii specializing in lightweight composite concrete, and is most likely biased toward LWC.


Comparisons of Various Energy Sources. (2005). The Virtual Nuclear Tourist. Retrieved 2005 October 30 From

Johnson, A. (1993). Strengths and weaknesses of Railway TransportThailand Development Research Institute Quarterly Review [Online Edition]. 2005 October 30.

Peru. (2005).The CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 2005 October 30 From