Estimates of Lost Material Stock of Buildings and Roads Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

This article describes research conducted for the Japanese government in the wake of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan on March 11, 2011. In this study, material stock analysis (MSA) is used to examine the losses of building and infrastructure materials after this disaster. Estimates of the magnitude of material stock that has lost its social function as a result of a disaster can indicate the quantities required for reconstruction, help garner a better understanding of the volumes of waste flows generated by that disaster, and also help in the course of policy deliberations in the recovery of disaster-stricken areas. Calculations of the lost building and road materials in the five prefectures most affected were undertaken. Analysis in this study is based on the use of geographical information systems (GIS) databases and statistics; it aims to (1) describe in spatial terms what construction materials were lost, (2) estimate the amount of infrastructure material needed to rehabilitate disaster areas, and (3) indicate the amount of lost material stock that should be taken into consideration during government policy deliberations. Our analysis concludes that the material stock losses of buildings and road infrastructure are 31.8 and 2.1 million tonnes, respectively. This research approach and the use of spatial MSA can be useful for urban planners and may also convey more appropriate information about disposal based on the work of municipalities in disaster-afflicted areas.

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