What Are Innovative Ways the International Community Can Respond to Natural Disasters?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 6, 2010
Houses Left Amid Flood Waters in Pakistan

This week, the United States intensified its humanitarian response to the recent catastrophic flooding in Pakistan. The United States is making commitments of $25 million in assistance to flood-affected populations, bringing the total to date to more than $35 million.

American citizens have been contributing $10 donations from their cell phones, by texting the word "SWAT" to the number 50555. The Government of Pakistan has set up a similar phone-based contribution system for people to donate from within Pakistan. As we learned after the earthquake in Haiti, small donations can add up to make a large difference.

What are other innovative ways the international community can respond to natural disasters?

Comments

Comments

Judith F.
|
California, USA
August 9, 2010

Judith F. in California writes:

"http://tinyurl.com/39j83xw"

This is what Humanity Road does.

Søren S.
|
Denmark
August 6, 2010

Soren S. in Denmark writes:

Thank you to the moderators for letting us participiate:

1 a Disaster has to be defined, as we al know the faster the reactiontime the fever resourses, its therefor essential that USGS and others "blast" there warnings ASAP

2. id like to point to what the DOD is doing in this regard "http://defensesystems.com/articles/2010/08/06/android-iphone-dominate-ap..."

The main idea is you allready have smartphone ad ons (also use of socialmedia, public diplomacy etc) for use in like First aid response etc out there if you make your aps for Both Homeland security & disasterelief i believe its an way foreward.

a Homeland security advice on what not to bring on flights, what to look for in a subway in terms of bombs, suspicius behavior etc. Rem that smartphones come with cam's and GPS tracker if you are in an exposed area i can as an consumer accept to be "tracked" on like a google map for relief responder (embassy staff also) and to be guided around trubble by a staff that dosent even have to be in the same room or country. But it has to be a two way street where you can "uploade suspisius behavior" see by comparision how modern news agencies ask people to opload pictures mov etc from a disaster area.

Done correct it can also guide people who has to be evac to the right spots without having to blast it bigtime in media (BANKOK scenario) such adons also gives quick guidance in like mother nutritions, how to simpel clean water, were to refer to legal claims updates on current situation (TWOWAY from phone to situation room & visa versa, might prevent a Katrina scenario from escalating) it has also the potential as relief collector And vetting (to avoid scams)

What to do in case of eartquake, Bomb attack..and if i read the DOD correct it also simplyfy the aqusition process

BUT the main thing is such an ad od on can function as a command and control function for the staff that deals with the problem (GPS tracker) & take all the manuals and Advise..online and targetet for the specific situation/consumer/soldier in order to avoid "information overload"

such ad ons can also be used for educational purpose in 3 world contries

My regards too4r

Susan D.
|
Delaware, USA
August 6, 2010

Susan D. in Delaware writes:

There are literally 100s of NGOs operating in each of these poor countries affected by natural disasters, most are registered with the country governments, with contact information and info about their infrastructure. Funnel assistance through existing NGOs, that already have the contacts on the ground.

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 7, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

Massive disaster/development teams with military precision and ccordination to get the job done right in the first place. Stop wasting money on 100's of NGO's who overlap services. You need a grand plan for every type of emergency that can be scaled up or down nearly instantly without wasting precious time and money.

1 in every 3 Americans should be a trained responder and know in advance what capacity they work in and where they immediately report to. Like medical,childcare, government,heavy equipment operator etc.

Triangulate the globe and have pre-stored emergency warehouses within a 1-2 hour time frame from the affected area. In addition, coordinate the closest nations to respond with intial doctors and portable field hospitals, assessment teams. Have a global team of responders that work like clockwork and know what they're supposed to do before hitting the ground. For ex: California earthquake. The immediate first responder doctor teams will come from within the USA then Mexico and Canada followed by S. American countries, Russia, Africa Europe, Asia, Australia. The medical warehouses in America are immediately opened up and pre-filled tractor trailers of medical supplies from Mexico and Canada are also on route.

Initially assessments should be scaled on a disaster scale of 1-10. Such as initial damage reports this disaster is a 4 so that the medical supplies being sent are on a 4 scale=100,000-200,000 tons of medical supplies en route. If the disaster is greater then adjustments can be made accordingly. If the disaster is less than expected then the leftover supplies can replenish the existing stores in the warehouses.

Contingency plans can be tailor fit to any disaster. But the one remaining core of the program will never change. That is the number of responders to draw from and their expertise. A first responder would know in advance of the type of drill being implemented ie. Tsumami, earthquake, fire, flood, biological, radiological, WW111 (or whatever) and implement the appropriate procedure and sequence. The key is organization All apartment complexes should have many designated responders who will help and liase with the next level of disaster management and so on and so forth until everyone is safe and accounted for. Many citizens would like to be disaster responders so the government should take advantage of this fact and gets some miltary organization and precision into the mix. The American people can do anything but let's please get organized so that we don't have another Katrina. That was an embarrasment and very un-American, I might add!

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 8, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

Also remember signage and information is very important. Having numerous portable, inflatable movie screens that are wireless and interconnected that display emergency information all around the affected area. For example: All child emergencies report to Central hospital. All non emergency displaced children report to central hospital soccer field triage and childcare.

Disaster relief should be professionalized and globally funded by every country. It should have an immediate and far reaching aid relief function as well as a longer term stabilization function. There should be massive teams at different periods with different functions. Once the stabilization process is in progress, architects, urban planners, water systems, teachers, government, civil and legal functions should remain until an affected area is smoothly progressing and doesn't need help anymore. If every country is paying into a central fund and every penny is being tracked, there should be sufficient funds for every global disaster that comes our way. The key is advance organization and manpower. Citizenship should require a mandatory civilian disaster corps on call requirement. It should be "all hands on deck" or "on call" at all times. The civilian corps knows in advance where they report to. If they're at work they report locally. If at home they report locally. All schools should be well equipped to provide care until parents can collect their children.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 8, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well, in the aftermath of a "100 year flood" as in Pakistan, folks have about 80 years to do the hydrological work needed to prevent the next one.

I think there's two key elements to an ecologicly sound river system, one that flow is not swinging to extremes due to deforestation, while at the same time having small dams and lakes up in the highlands to cascade run-off in a more controlled, natural way than large dam projects, where each valley system leading to the major rivers has several areas devoted to containing enough run-off that there won't ever be a drought Pakistani farmers cannot handle with the additional overall irrigation storage capacity.

Plant about a trillion trees on the watersheds themselves as altitude will allow and hopefully that will create sustainability.

Combine this with a global forestry program to normalize the carbon cycle in nature and preventive flood intervention in high risk areas on every continent, we can reduce the number of flood disasters by a factor of ten at least, I would think over the next hundred years.

It's the "beaver dam" approach, lots of beavers, lots of little dams and pools to control the rate of a heavy rain or spring run off.

Folks hunted beaver to near extinction in the US and they are only now making a comeback.

Critters do serve their purpose in the larger picture. Lots of floods later folks figured out just how valuable they are.

Do the same thing as the beavers with some dynamite and earth movers.

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 8, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@Eric from New Mexico,
The deforestation part in Pakistan seems spot on. I think any forestation program should be brought down to the elementary school level where children grow trees from seedlings so that they are involved in the forestation of their own country. Children love to plant things. Using planting as the basis of an even broader curriculum could help improve Pakistani schools and shift them away from Madrassa's. They should also introduce non wood building materials and efficient solar ovens so that people don't de-forest again. A solar oven factory, brick factories etc, a revolutionary building industry would put many people to work. The emphasis in the recovery phase of disaster relief should be aid in the form of expertise not outright money aid that gets spent on military equipment or lines the pockets of corrupt politicians. A forestation education in Pakistan could begin with planting and by high school could include plant diseases and genetics. This type of education is transferable to a medical career later. Pakistan could and should do more for its citizens. It's stupidity and corruption that stultifies a people. We're experiencing a lot of the same issues now in America too. Too many vested interests not doing what's right for the American people. Our government is directionless and people are tired of it.

David B.
|
Arizona, USA
August 9, 2010

David M.B. in Arizona writes:

I have a means to reduce the disaster that is now going on in Moscow
- It can save the lives of 50,000 to half a million people in the next week !
I need the help of someone with governmental influence and a humanitarian ethic.

Simply put,large numbers of people are dieing (and going to die) due to a temporary air crisis which can be averted by a simple invention - that invention being a non- drying filter coat which I have developed (and special low-cost means of utilization which can even have a pronounced effect at removing the smoke from the outside air.

The people of Moscow are in dire need of relief from the smoke of the forest fires (600 fires are burning near Moscow !) and while their government has set aside hundreds of places for people to go where they can breath easier, They desperately need the help of what I can offer!

Someone needs to call the technology transfer Division of the US Government and get their permission to transfer a non-toxic non-drying filter-coat (and several special applications) to the Russian government.

Quite simply this coating (in it's many simple uses) acts as a collagen adhesive to dry airborne particles and it grows around such particles taking humidity from the air to renew it's moist at tractability such that the next oncoming particles will also be attached to the surface of the filter (or any surface to which this formula has been applied). This technology can be in place and helping in 24 hours with your help. This coating can improve the effectiveness of ordinary air filters by 900 percent against dry particulate such as that contained in smoke. Further, it can facilitate many new simple and effective air cleaning uses.

In the most humanitarian desire I offer to give this knowledge free of charge to the Russian Government.

Farhan K.
|
Connecticut, USA
August 10, 2010

Farhan K. in Connecticut writes:

Thanks for the info. I donated using text message. Is there anyway someone from you talk to cellular company to release the funds to UNHRC instead of waiting for billing period ends.
Regards.

dr.sajeev.cy
|
United Arab Emirates
August 11, 2010

Dr. Sajeev. C. in the United Arab Emirates writes:

for natural disasters areginal coopertion is needed.for eg us can help the states in american subcontinent more effectively.same like asian,europian,arabian,african,southeast asian regional cooperation tobe setto combact a natural disaster.so that speedy and effective humanitarian aid can provide.un can or g7 or g20can lead these regional cooperation.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 12, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Nothing much happens in the "land of man~ana" but a dozen years ago or so there was a forest fire burning near Los Alamos labs, and the forest fires in Russia are encroaching on contaminated ground around chernobyl and several nuclear storage and research facilities, nuclear materials have been relocated in some cases and I know the uncertainty this brings to things for the Russian people.

Since Dipnote's "a place to share stories, discuss experiences", so I'll give folks a first-hand account of mine, and the truth be told, my government may not choose to confirm my findings in conclusion, but given that I absolutely know what was burning in some of the trash pits from my grandad's era.

Specificly the demolished buildings he worked in there during WW2 when the first bombs were built.

Now as precious as U235 and Pu were, that wasn't the source of a moderate first degree sunburn I got having worked outside during a day when the ash drifted over and fell like a heavy snow,...big flakes,...fell like "winterwonderland".

See, that "sunburn" was over 100% of my body and that's the first and only time that's ever happened to me in my lifetime.

Once met a fellow who worked with my granddad and he was telling me how they painted "back in the day" (since I was doing some painting on his place).

"Well working with "hot" stuff," he told me, .."the thing is it contaminates what's around it, including all the dust in a room, everything that's secondary level contamination not a direct source but a harmful source if it builds up. So we painted the entire workspace with white lead-based paint every two weeks to keep the heat down, seal the dust in so we wouldn't inhale it.""Back in the day" folks just took what was no longer safe to work in, busted it to rubble and buried it out on the mesa - pine covered high country.

Burned like a tinderbox that year. So hot it sterilized the soil in places, pits burned for some weeks as I remember till they were all finally put out.

Folks can make all the official statements they want, but for Russians right now, the best thing their government can do for them is keep them informed in real time as to what's burning, wind direction, rad count totals etc, and clear out those cold war bomb shelters, you knever know when you might need them. ( and nothing political implied here ).

The best war to control public fear is with all the info, up front in a timely manner, and no holding back.

Could have taken the day off, and stayed inside had I known then what I do today.

Forest fires have an elevated back-ground radiation effect up to +3x above normal naturally, but I didn't get burned under my cloths because of increased alfa particles, that was beta or gamma radiation that did that. Sunburned through a pair of levi jeans...and boots, long sleaved shirt, and a baseball cap over 100% area??

If my government has a "better idea" what happened that day I'd love to know.

No other symptoms to date related to my knowledge have I had to deal with, fortunately.

But I can definately consider myself a "down-winder", make no doubt about it.

This is how a cold war legacy unfolds when it meats head on with natural disaster.

OysterCracker
|
United States
August 12, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Very interesting story, Eric. I was interested in winning the DYI BLOG CABIN until I found it was located on a 1/2 acre former niuclear waste dump. Sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 13, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

( Tired eyes and typos # 6591 - Correction to previous post.)

"The best war.." was supposed to read "the best way" in regards to my best intended suggestions to the Russian government.

Far be it for me to create a "diplomatic incident" on this blog.

---

OC,

Indeed.

.

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