Disaster Waste Management for the 2009 Samoan Tsunami

Charlotte Brown, Mark Milke, Erica Seville

University of Canterbury, 2011


The 2009 Samoan Tsunami killed 143 and affected 4389 people. Before communities could begin to rebuild, the tonnes of potentially hazardous (to public health and the environment) debris had to be removed. Interviews were conducted with professionals involved in, and affected by, the tsunami debris clean-up in April 2010.

A number of government and international non-governmental organisation initiated clean-up programmes in affected communities. Terrestrial waste clearance was prioritised ahead of coast, marine and wetland areas. Generally a combination of community and contracted labour was used during the clean-up. Some material was salvaged for temporary shelter and recycling, however, the majority of the waste was disposed of at Tafaigata landfill.

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