Good post disaster reconstruction is possible

With all the natural and man made disasters that we have in Italy, we should have become skilled and quick in rebuilding. Instead, it is not so.

After a flood, an earthquake, a landslide, a volcanic eruption, an overflowing, a fire and other similar calamities of large proportions, the wounds on land and people remain.

Completed the phases of emergency and first aid, at the latest after four or six months, funds should have been allocated and reconstruction activities should have been initiated, in agreement with the local population.

That is the time when a methodology for the management of post-disaster reconstruction projects, which has been developed by about 80 expert volunteers from 20 countries of the world, could be helpful. It describes how to work in an organized and structured manner, developing the design aspects characteristic of these particular activities. The “Project Management Methodology for Post Disaster Reconstruction“, translated into Italian by the volunteer author of this article, is available at no cost for non-commercial purposes and has been prepared in 2005 by the foundation PMIEF® of the PMI® (Project Management Institute).

It explains general procedures and specific issues relating for example to the evacuation plan of the staff, to transport and logistics in areas where there could be no more roads, to the involvement of the local population to mend the social tissue, to the need to develop a sustainability plan. The latter is a long term operational plan, which enables people affected by the calamity to self-sustain, even when the reconstruction project is completed.

The methodology requires that also the procurement plan should be developed with a sustainable viewpoint, preferring the choice of local materials and suppliers, and creating job opportunities in the area of the disaster at the same time.

The reconstruction may concern public works, schools, infrastructures, technical services, social services, health and psychological care for the victims of the calamity.

While in traditional projects we try to find a balance among quality, time and cost, in the management of post-disaster reconstruction projects there are some priorities:

  1. Time;
  2. Cost;
  3. Stakeholders.

Stakeholders are all the parties directly or indirectly interested in the project or affected by it.

The best weapons to prevent or to minimize disasters are always prevention, common sense and knowledge. In any case, natural calamities such as floods and landslides are on the increase, both in their frequency and in their intensity, because of climate change caused by global warming due to the greenhouse effect, which is generated by the discharge in the atmosphere of too much carbon dioxide and other gas with similar characteristics. The consequences of these natural disasters are then amplified by incorrect human activities.

Climate change generates also changes in the design parameters of buildings, infrastructures and utilities. They change for instance the concentration time and the recurrence interval. But we are getting too much into engineering details.

Good post disaster reconstruction is possible. The right tools and techniques are available to all the people who want to use them.

Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering

Translation of the Italian article: Paola Morgese “Ricostruire bene dopo i disastri è possibile” published in the blog of



Author: progettisostenibili Paola Morgese

Ingegnere, project manager, autrice. Convogliatrice di sostenibilità nelle aziende e nella vita. Engineer, project manager, author. Conveyer of sustainability in business and life

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