The Copenhagen Consensus Centre has released a Challenge Paper on Natural Disasters, penned by Howard Kunreuther and Erwann Michel-Kerjan and distributed through CopenhagenConsensus.com
Summary. Downloadable PDF available below.
“In recent years, the world has experienced a series of truly devastating natural disasters that have taken many lives and triggered unprecedented economic losses. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the United States, the 2010 massive floods in Australia and the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan, among other events, have demonstrated that even the most wealth and well prepared countries can experience large-scale damage and destruction when natural disasters strike.
The situation is much worse in low-income countries since they often do not have the financial means to protect their population and economy against catastrophes. In addition, building codes are lacking or not well enforced and the infrastructure is often poorly designed for disseminating information prior to a disaster, and assisting victims in a timely manner after its occurrence. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 illustrates the challenges of an unprepared and poor country…
…First, the authors propose designing schools that can withstand earthquakes to reduce damage and the number of fatalities to children, teachers and other staff. Retrofitting the schools in all 35 most-exposed countries around the world would save the lives of 250,000 individuals over the next 50 years. Costs obviously vary from country to country: in the Solomon Islands it would cost just $36 million to retrofit schools while the cumulative total benefits are $235 million, yielding a benefit/cost ratio (BCR) greater than 6. In Afghanistan and Myanmar the costs would be $698 million and $1,570 million, respectively, with a benefit of about five times the amount invested.”
Jonathan Fincher for Gizmag.com
Anyone who has been through earthquake drills in school knows the standard defense against falling debris is for students to crawl under their desks. Unfortunately, while this might block a few pieces of stray drywall and glass, a wooden desk isn’t going to withstand the crushing weight from large chunks of concrete or steel. In fact, people hiding under their desks could very likely become trapped with no way out. That’s why two designers have developed an “earthquake-proof” desk that can absorb the impact of up to a ton of weight and even provide emergency routes for rescue crews to reach trapped students.
The two students submitted the design for the end of year Design Extravaganza in Milan after submitting it to tests including dropping 1 Tonne blocks of steel and concrete onto the tables from above. In every case the table top was destroyed, but the structure of the table remained intact, potentially protecting anybody sheltering underneath. When arranged in rows, as they would be in classrooms, the tables create ‘tunnels’ for either escape or easy access for the Emergency Services.
The design works by integrating ‘crumple zones’ into the structure of the tables, visible in the above picture as the red posts at the top of the table legs. This distributes the force of falling debris to the ends of the table, traditionally the strongest part as the legs are just underneath.
The students; Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno are currently awaiting a patent and an approval by the Padua University before they can begin shipping their innovation to the world’s disaster zones.
For the full article and a full image gallery, visit the link below.
Brought to us by the Ashburton Chronicle, NZ.
Before the string of Canterbury earthquakes, most people never imagined being in the heart of a civil defence emergency says Aged Concern home and personal safety programme co-ordinator Yvonne Palmer.
But today every person who lived through the February 22 quake understands the importance of being prepared, she said.
And to ensure Ashburton’s older people would know exactly what to do in any emergency in the future, last week she brought the Aged Concern home and personal safety programme to Ashburton.
It’s a three pronged programme involving Aged Concern, the Police and Civil Defence and all three groups are preaching the same simple message – get ready to get through.
For more, follow the link.