HURRICANE DEBRIS CLEANUP
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Considers how communities in general and northwest Florida in particular can cleanup debris following ...... More...
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Considers how communities in general and northwest Florida in particular can clean up debris following a hurricane. Also touches on the issues of health hazards and flooding, and communications problems.
Hurricane Debris Cleanup Preparation Introduction Hurricanes and tornadoes have made headlines in recent years as thedevastation left in their wakes is broadcast around the nation and evenaround the world Hurricanes in particular make for spectacular newsprograms because of the large area covered by these natural disasters andthe surrealist nature of the damage that is caused Boats and ships comeloose from their moorings for example and can end up miles inland Theimages of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina remain fresh in people\'s mindswith
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It is also critical that the debris removal plan include contingenciesfor hazardous waste-including computers that might be damaged as a resultof the storm-and for different types of debris. Key arteries, for example, may be given priority inorder to ensure that recovery workers can reach their destinations safelyand in a timely fashion. 27-3 .Jeter, L. 23.Planning for disaster debris. (2 6, May 8). Permit requirements, forexample, should take into account the effects of a hurricane and howbuilding materials will behave when a hurricane strikes. A strategy should be developed to identify the priority fordebris removal, for example. (2 5, September 19). ReferencesEaton, L. Finally, the debris removal plan should include a communicationcomponent to ensure that information is disseminated to residents andbusiness owners regarding debris removal. Earthquakes can also generate ash and charredwood from fires that may result, but these are not typically associatedwith hurricanes ("Planning for," 2 6). If the debris is not handled appropriately, thelong-term effects can be devastating to the surrounding area. Spoilage of food and garbage in these debris piles canalso lead to health hazards (Heffes, 2 6). At the same time, breakdown in communication and transportation mayinhibit debris removal; this also needs to be taken into account whendeveloping the plan. As events become larger inscale, more contractors may be involved, with coordination required amongthese various companies. It is also critical that there be a destination for debris that isremoved, whether by government agencies or by private individuals. Conclusion Floridians live with hurricanes in the same way that Midwesternerslive with tornadoes or Californians live with earthquakes. Because thestorm itself is quite large, often extending hundreds of miles, hurricanescan move inland and leave debris in their wake hundreds of miles from thecoast. Debris on public property is removed by the contractors selected bythe local governments in most cases; this is the debris removal that FEMAfunds. This can bedone in advance, and as the very active recent hurricane seasons havedemonstrated, are critical to the recovery process. Although actual removal of debris is typically completed by privatecontractors-local, in most cases, although major hurricanes may result inout-of-area contractors being hired, as well, there can be confusion overwho is responsible for removing what debris. One of thelandfills used following 1965's Hurricane Betsy was not subject to the samestringent oversight as other landfills with the result that the siteeventually was designated a Superfund site with negative impact to thelocal environment (Eaton, 2 6). Until debris iscleared, it may offer an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes-in standingwater-or for vermin who take refuge is piles of lumber. Gulf Coast cities struggle with overwhelming debris. Hurricane Debris Cleanup Preparation Introduction Hurricanes and tornadoes have made headlines in recent years as thedevastation left in their wakes is broadcast around the nation and evenaround the world. Locallandfills may well have suffered damage that renders them useless, socontingency plans will need to be made both in the short-term and the long-term. Hurricane Debris Removal Issues There are four key issues associated with hurricane debris removal:types of debris, magnitude of debris to be removed, agencies that could beinvolved in debris removal, and assigning responsibility for removal. It is difficult to estimatehow much debris was created by Hurricane Katrina, since the clean-up isstill continuing and because not all of the debris has yet been created-additional debris will be created as recovery efforts continue-but Biloxi,Mississippi had cleared approximately two million cubic yards of debris byearly 2 6 and estimated that approximately half of the debris had beencleared at that time (Johnson, 2 6). Newconstruction cannot begin until debris is removed and debris can alsocontribute to health hazards and impair the reconstruction oftransportation and communications. Children may find debris an attractive play site, and issues suchas tetanus become more pronounced in these situations. The New York Times, p. However, greenwaste can be problematic and cause downed power lines as well astransportation difficulties (Heffes, 2 6). The type of debris that isassociated with hurricanes is as extensive as that associated with floods,and nearly as extensive as that associated with earthquakes. Debris is rarely"clean," so that there is also likely to be garbage and food waste in manyor most debris piles. Theimages of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina remain fresh in people's mindswith pictures of people stranded on roofs and, once the waters receded,with pictures of entire housing tracts reduced to nothing but rubble.There are many issues with which local communities are concerned followinga hurricane, but debris removal is one of the most critical. 1.Johnson, J. Debris can also be associated with health hazards. If roadsare not cleared, it can be difficult for rescue workers to reach strandedcitizens, or for repair crews to reach utility facilities. Washington, DC: FEMA. This reduces the demand ondebris removal as a whole and enhances the overall effectiveness of theresponse team. Beyond trying to minimize the debris that is created by a hurricane,Florida counties need to establish a disaster plan that includes debrisremoval. Hurricanesand floods both generate damaged buildings, sediment waste, green waste andpersonal property waste. The debris leftbehind by a hurricane, however, can be far greater than with these othernatural disasters. (2 6, April). Retrieved 4 May 2 6 from:
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