I’m looking at the news about The Philippines, and the pictures coming from there remind me of the many disasters we have seen take place all around the world. When these incidents happen, the needs are always the same regardless to where they happen. People need food, clothing, shelter, and clean water.
Years ago, I saw a report on CNN talking about a water purification system called The Hydra Water Purification System. This system operated on solar power and could produce fresh drinking water from fresh or saltwater. In addition, the system could also generate hydrogen, which would be good for cooking, heating, etc.. and hospital grade oxygen.
I’ve wondered why that system seemed to vanish off the face of the earth, but in disaster situations like the typhoon, such a system would be a great asset to help provide needed water to those who are suffering.
In addition to that, Amsterdam is home to a unique dormitory for college students that could also be applied to disaster response and relief efforts. There, they created a dormitory using shipping containers called Keetwonen. Here are some pictures of that dorm, and Tempohousing, the company that built it, has several different projects they have built using shipping containers.
I’ve often how difficult it would be to combine technologies like these to aid people in need of help after a disaster. The Hydra sits on a 16 foot trailer and could easily be placed in a 20 ft. shipping container and moved all around the world. The containers themselves could be loaded onto ships or trains and moved anywhere they were needed. As they could be used as either temporary or semi-permanent residences, they would get people into decent shelter quickly and give relief workers one less issue to worry about.
I’m sure there would be downsides to such a thing, but when you see people living in tents after a disaster, such as in Haiti, is it not worth a consideration to use what we already have to assist those in need? A quick Google search reveals there are over 17 million shipping containers in the world. Would the shipping industry be crippled by setting aside a few thousand for instances like this? To speed things up, they could be stationed at different points all around the world to help get them where they are needed much faster.
- The charity that houses homeless people in shipping containers (theguardian.com)
- Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts (kvue.com)
- Response to Typhoon Haiyan (nonprofitnewswire.wordpress.com)
- How to help the typhoon relief efforts (pbs.org)