Nov 30, 15

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Shelter Centre: Transitional Shelter Standards + Conceptual Designs

Shelter Centre is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, that aims to support the humanitarian community by providing emergency shelter guidance and technical personnel in post-conflict or post-natural disaster areas. Its Transitional Shelter Prototypes project has begun to produce its first outputs, in the form of conceptual emergency shelter designs by manufacturers of tents and other temporary shelters. These shelters are designed to meet a set of Transitional Shelter Standards -...


PermaCorps, Haiti: Sustainable Disaster Relief pt.2

Responding to disasters requires doing a lot with a little as quickly as possible. After my post on the use of solar power as part of the Haitian recovery, a few readers pointed me to aid efforts that are using permaculture techniques to meet pressing demands for clean water, food and shelter. There is even talk of creating a permaculture relief corp: the "PermaCorps."Permaculture's motto is that nothing goes to waste -- which is perfect for situations where there is never enough to go...


Solar Recovery In Haiti: Building Tough Solar Cities

Last week's quake cut electricity to most of Haiti's capital. Without power, residents and aid workers are struggling to maintain basic communication, lighting and water purification systems. CBC News had reports of officials queuing to recharge their mobile phones. What power there is comes from gas powered generators, but diesel is running low. In the aftermath of the quake, Reuters reported that at night the only lights visible over the city came from solar powered traffic signals. Now...


Drought May Further Threaten Darfur Peace

Amidst the turmoil in Sudan, add the possibility of drought. The Sahel, the semi-arid region between the Sahara Desert and southern grasslands, has received above-average rainfall in recent years. But precipitation trends suggest that a period of drought is in the near future, which aid workers warn could spell trouble for ongoing peace efforts inDarfur."This is three years they've been above the statistical average [for rainfall]," said Andrew Morton, manager of the United Nations...


The Death of the Land Mine-Detecting Flower

Research on the land mine detecting flower, which we posted about back in 2005 here and here, has come to an end. The company behind the concept, Denmark-based Aresa, has discontinued work on the project, and has subsequently changed the company focus from biotechnology to investment. According to this press release issued in September, The business model behind the landmine plant has become outdated and consequently aresa is changing its strategy to investment in mine contaminated land...


GlobalGiving Goes Green

Stories of distant, weather-rocked communities, from Katerina to China, Thailand to Africa, are enough to make any news reader feel a little helpless. The problems are big, and the ways to support those trying to make a difference are often confusing. How do you choose what projects to support? How will you know your money is truly going to a beneficial, effective cause? Helping to answer those questions is GlobalGiving Green, new philanthropy service helping to connect donors with...


Are Myanmar’s Storm Victims Suffering Needlessly?

As the floodwaters of Cyclone Nargis began to recede from Myanmar's low-lying Irrawaddy Delta this week, at least one regional leader was quick to note that this devastating disaster could have been partially prevented through better coastal management. Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), mentioned in an address in Singapore that expanding coastal populations and widespread mangrove degradation played key roles in worsening the...


A Case for Sustainable Reconstruction In Pisco

On Wednesday evening an 8.0 earthquake struck central Peru, devastating the Ica region of the Andean country. The official death toll from this unfolding disaster currently stands at 502 [as of 16 Aug -- Ed.]; around four hundred of these were residents of Pisco, a city of over 100,000 near the epicenter of the main quake. Pisco is reported to have lost 80 percent of its homes. As we speak the usual suspects of international disaster response and recovery are busy on the ground. Typically,...


A Billion Trees to Help Refugees

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has pledged to plant more than 9 million trees in areas of human displacement this year, enlisting both refugees and host communities to meet this goal. By distributing seedlings of various species in denuded areas, UNHCR hopes to plant more than 2.6 million trees in and around refugee camps in Tanzania, 1.7 million in Sudan, and 1.8 million in Ethiopia. There were an estimated 8.4 million refugees worldwide in 2006, according to UNHCR, while the...


Rapid Image Evaluation for Disaster Response

Access to information is critical in the early hours in any post-catastrophe scenario. Quickly relaying information to emergency personnel can reduce the time from disaster to response. When calamity strikes over a large area, the constellation of satellites overhead are crucial in the primary assessment of the scale of the problem, and in assigning resources to the most appropriate places. Recent disasters have shown the effectiveness of satellite imagery, and the power of the Web to mount...

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