View Full Version : Disaster response (merged thread)

Gringo Malandro
05-17-2009, 04:25 PM
UN: Growth of slums boosting natural disaster risk (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090517/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_un_disaster_risks)

At least 900 million people now live in shantytowns and other makeshift settlements in cities vulnerable to disasters such as cyclones, flooding or earthquakes, the report said. Those populations are growing at a rate of about 25 million a year, it said.
India, China and other parts of Asia were at a particularly high risk from so-called "megadisasters" such as last year's Cyclone Nargis, which killed an estimated 140,000 people in Myanmar, and the massive quake in China that claimed nearly 90,000 lives and left 5 million people homeless.

More from the UN: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wup2007/2007WUP_Highlights_web.pdf

The world urban population is expected nearly to double by 2050, increasing from 3.3 billion in 2007 to 6.4 billion in 2050. By mid-century the world urban population will likely be the same size as the world’s total population in 2004. Virtually all of the world’s population growth will be absorbed by the urban areas of the less developed regions, whose population is projected to increase from 2.4 billion in 2007 to 5.3 billion in 2050.The urban population of the more developed regions is projected to increase modestly, from 0.9 billion in 2007 to 1.1 billion in 2050.

The developing world continues to gain a growing share of the world's wealth, and generally that growth occurs disproportionately in major urban clusters, drawing in migrants from the countryside looking to get a share. Most developing countries seemed to have proved inept, or unable, to manage the large inflows of these folks, which produces that shantytowns and such.

So even if the US makes a decision to reduce its international commitments - and there isn't any indication that we ARE doing that - it seems that there will be more threats to our national interests from urban instability world-wide. Either directly (ie 'failed states) or as these areas exercise political strength (ie Hugo Chavez).

There are lots of implications, but specific to the military I'm curious what this means for future strategy, not just the traditional warfighting vs "armed social work" debate, but also urban combat vs jungles/mountains (more Iraqs - fewer Afghanistans).

Bill Moore
11-13-2010, 02:10 AM

15-story prefab hotel built in just 6 days

After watching to many slow and frequently ineffective responses to natural and man made disasters I wonder if anyone in the humanitarian field focused on recovery is looking at the latest Prefab technology. The Chinese example may be a bit extreme, but I think we can do better than providing plasitic sheets.

I think we need to consider much more than just shelters, but also consider pre-fab sewage systems, pre fab electric generation systems, etc.

11-13-2010, 01:41 PM
There's also concrete cloth/canvas.

Bill Moore
11-13-2010, 05:58 PM
Fuchs, thanks for the link. The possibilites are endless if we can get these ideas funded to support reconstruction efforts and then get the solutions into the right hands (and right minds). Seen similiar innovation with plastic and other materials. How do we tie them together into a flexible system to support areas effected by disaster?

11-13-2010, 06:26 PM
On a similar topic, it seems like it'd be a good idea to implement gobar gas (http://www.michaelyon-online.com/gobar-gas.htm) initiatives.

Bill Moore
11-13-2010, 07:40 PM
Another good link on innovative and sustainable technologies (low tech, high conceptual) that can be applied to support stability operations.

Anyone interested in forming a NGO that reaches out to these and other companies in hope of providing an effective response to disaster? Does one already exist? I can't see the government being effective at this. This may be something that the Gate's Foundation can support?

11-14-2010, 02:23 AM
Prefabs have major advantages where you need fast deployment, as in disaster relief. Disadvantage is that they cut down opportunities to employ and train local labor. As with anything else, advantages and disadvantages have to be weighed according to the specific circumstances in a given case.

There are huge numbers of useful technologies out there, the challenge lies in getting them to where they are needed and getting them adopted.

Rex Brynen
11-14-2010, 03:23 AM
Prefabs have major advantages where you need fast deployment, as in disaster relief. Disadvantage is that they cut down opportunities to employ and train local labor. As with anything else, advantages and disadvantages have to be weighed according to the specific circumstances in a given case.

There are huge numbers of useful technologies out there, the challenge lies in getting them to where they are needed and getting them adopted.

The disaster relief community is well aware of what is possible in the way of prefabricated housing--and, as Dayuhan wisely notes, the potential drawbacks involved too. I might also add three other things to his list:

1) Those displaced by disasters won't always accept all prefabricated housing if it is too remote from local experience, especially in the post-emergency phase.

2) Whenever there is an emergency, precious time can be wasted trying to fend off overeager providers of prefabricated housing that is too costly, too slow, available in inadequate numbers, can't easily be transported, or is otherwise inappropriate. It becomes even more of a problem when they have their local embassy lobbying you to buy the stuff too.

3) Providing nice prefabricated housing to only a small proportion of those in need of shelter can set you up for an enormous political backlash.

This isn't to say that it isn't part of the answer--it is. However, it is to say that it is far from being a magic bullet.

SWJ Blog
07-03-2013, 08:06 AM
Pivoting to the Pacific: BCT Staff Integration during Disaster Response (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/pivoting-to-the-pacific-bct-staff-integration-during-disaster-response)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/pivoting-to-the-pacific-bct-staff-integration-during-disaster-response) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

SWJ Blog
11-23-2013, 05:06 AM
Top 10 Maritime Assistance/ Disaster Needs and Best US Platforms (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/top-10-maritime-assistance-disaster-needs-and-best-us-platforms)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/top-10-maritime-assistance-disaster-needs-and-best-us-platforms) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

11-30-2013, 11:55 PM
Seems like this is a hell of alot cheaper than a CHU.

IKEA has teamed up with UNHCR to create and provide a solution for refugee housing. A $1000 fold-out house.http://www.offgridworld.com/1000-foldable-solar-powered-house-designed-by-ikea-to-provide-shelter-for-refugees/

Bill Moore
12-01-2013, 04:50 AM
I have no expertise in this area, but a couple of things concern me since it is Ikea. I have purchased Ikea furniture in the past, and overall have been happy with it, but I know others besides myself have found putting together some items of Ikea furniture a bit challenging at times. Second concern is Ikea furniture often requires Ikea unique tools that come in the furniture packages. Ideally this particular items designed for refugees should be able to be constructed with standard tools (wrenches, screw drivers, etc.) and standard bolts, nuts, and washers, so the refugees can fix anything that breaks or replace parts that are lost without going back to Ikea.

It is good to see this type of innovation, and I suspect there are a lot of other innovative ideas in the NGO world along the same line.

04-16-2014, 12:45 PM
An interesting resource.

STAR-TIDES (Sharing To Accelerate Research-Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) is a research effort that promotes sustainable support to stressed populations – post-war, post-disaster, or impoverished, in foreign or domestic contexts, for short-term or long-term (multi-year) operations. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those working in the field. It uses public-private partnerships and “whole-of-government” approaches to encourage unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of command, and facilitates both inter-agency and international engagement. http://star-tides.net/

Who they are backed by

TIDES stands for Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support. This research project is coordinated at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at the National Defense University (NDU), which is part of the Department of Defense. All Information is intended to be in the public domain. All Information on this website is free, open source, and in the public domain. Ideas expressed, or products displayed, on the website, or in other TIDES or STAR-TIDES activities, should not be considered as endorsed by anyone else, Including the US government, nor should they be considered any form of commitment.

Rex Brynen
07-20-2015, 06:41 PM
This may be of interest to some folks...

AFTERSHOCK is a game that explores the interagency cooperation needed to address a complex humanitarian crisis. Although designed for four players, it can be played with fewer (even solitaire), or more (with players grouped into teams). Game play takes two hours.


The game is set in the fictional country of Carana:

Carana has suffered years of sometimes violent turmoil, and has only recently taken the first steps to tentative steps to national reconciliation and reconstruction. Poverty is widespread, government capacity is weak, and ethnic and political tensions remain high. Nongovernmental organizations and United Nations specialized agencies are active in the country, including a moderately-sized UN civilian police (CIVPOL) contingent.

At dawn today, a powerful earthquake struck the capital city of Galasi, causing widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure. Tens of thousands of people are in need of urgent aid and medical attention. At the request of the Caranan government, military forces from several friendly countries—operating as the multinational Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Task Force, or HADR-TF—are en route to assist, as are additional contingents of UN and NGO personnel together with relief supplies.

The game explores approximately three months of humanitarian operations, including both the initial emergency and a later period of early recovery. Because Carana is a fragile, conflict- affected country, relief and reconstruction efforts may also involve issues of social unrest and political instability, especially during the early recovery stage once the initial shock of the crisis has worn off. The primary objective of all players is to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the local population. However, players also need to maintain public and political support for their organizations, whether to govern (Carana), sustain the relief mission (HADR-TF), or secure financial support (UN and NGOs).

AFTERSHOCK has its origins in the 2012 Connections interdisciplinary wargaming conference “game lab,” which focused on humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. We subsequently developed it at McGill University as an educational boardgame. The game is already in use in universities, the Canadian Humanitarian and Disaster Response Training Program, the Chilean Joint Peace Operations Center, and the US Army.

You’ll find more on the game at PAXsims (https://paxsims.wordpress.com/aftershock/).

You can order it from The Game Crafter (https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/aftershock).

For more on the Connections conferences, see http://connections-wargaming.com (US) and http://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk (UK)

04-18-2016, 03:21 PM
Following the catalyst of the next post's content I have reviewed this arena and merged a number of stand alone threads to here. Plus changing the title.

There are a number of threads here that supplement this one, e.g. that on teh response to Hurricane Katrina.

04-18-2016, 03:23 PM
An Intel Brief from the Soufan Group 'The Natural Disaster Threat':
Bottom Line Up Front:
• Last week’s devastating earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan demonstrated that while terrorism is a serious global threat, natural disasters represent a threat of an altogether different scale
• In terms of lives lost and economies battered, droughts, earthquakes, and floods stress and destabilize millions of people every year
• The cost of global terrorism in 2014 was estimated at nearly $53 billion; the cost of natural disasters in 2013 was estimated at $119 billion
• While very different types of threats, terrorism and natural disasters both generate instability; responses that stress cooperation, mitigation, and resilience are the most effective.