Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mobile infrastructure gets normal back quicker

One of the things that makes a disaster a disaster, is the fact that you can't turn on your faucet to get a drink, the food in your refrigerator (if you have one) has gone bad because there's no power, and getting to a store, if they were open, would be difficult if not impossible due to damaged roads, debris, or other impediments.

The point is, infrastructure is a big part of what makes this whole crazy thing called civilized society work...once you take that away, things begin to crumble and that's when images of Lord of Flies come to mind; which is why having a disaster preparedness kit is so important. A disaster kit is a stopgap designed to buy time so that the necessary infrastructure can be restored and life can as normal can resume. And while many of the messages related to preparedness say to have enough supplies for 72 hours, it doesn't hurt to have more.

So, what happens when the restoration of critical infrastructure can't happen on a timeline that prevents the disintegration of social order? Mobile infrastructure is what happens.

The good people at Tohl are in the pipeline installation business but they also provide a humanitarian angle to their operations. They have developed a mobile solution that can quickly re-establish basic water infrastructure to areas where traditional supply chains are blocked...basically it's a long hose with a unique method of delivery. Check out there video:

The other areas where I've seen mobile infrastructure work are in modular tent setups acting as field hospitals and shipping containers pre-fabricated for command centers, bunks/temporary shelters, and bathroom facilities, etc...

While these are by no means holistic solutions to the complex problems presented in re-establishing infrastructure following disasters, the innovative solutions people have come up with to deal with the challenges of meeting the needs of a community post-disaster are pretty incredible.

If you know of or have seen other unique and interesting ideas that provide a stopgap or permanent solution to infrastructure restoration following a disaster, I would be interested to hear more about it.

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