Earthquakes can cause more dangerous consequences than what is already expected. Because of the huge debris that is scattered on the road, the job of rescue and relief operations becomes difficult. To avoid these difficulties and to render solutions to the problems at a faster speed, Ozlem Ergun, professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the Northeastern University devised a tool support system.
Ergun criticizes the plans of the local, state, and federal emergency management agencies because of their static nature. She says that it does not include the recovery of the locations of medical facilities, vegetation, etc.
The mathematical framework that Ergun created could provide recommendations of immediate relief- needed locations. The tool provided the information on roads that needed to be cleared and was affected by debris the most. It also takes the network science approach and analyses the earthquakes and the amount of debris, pattern of road closures it has caused. Ergun had to compare two case studies of Boston and New York each in order to predict how a city’s infrastructure will be affected after a natural disaster.
In the case of New York, the recovery occurred faster and efficiently as the debris was scattered uniformly on the road. But the impact still remains unpredictable on road networks due to the large buildings, hospitals and also the uneven distribution of debris. Therefore, in a more realistic scenario, there is the need of efficient planning which would require more relevant data.
This tool can be used by the entities responsible for disaster relief and recovery such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Instead of the pre-event guidelines, this tool can analyse the consequences after the event. This will accelerate the process of recovering from the earthquake and make the rescue of the people affected efficient and quicker.