Disaster fund to encourage new solutions

Survivors of the Pakistan earthquake Survivors of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan were given smartcards to assist with food aid handouts

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The Department for International Development is to announce a fund this week to encourage new solutions to assist after natural disasters.

Examples of the kind of projects it will support include an app to help reunite missing families, and using satellites to produce quick maps.

Others are radio stations and mobile networks which are quick to set up.

The move follows predictions that the number of people affected by disasters will rise to 375 million by 2015,

The BBC's International Development Correspondent, David Loyn, said: "Among the first people that Britain now sends in response to earthquakes, such as in Haiti, are map-makers, who, working alongside fire officers camping in the rubble, quickly print maps from satellite images, so that rescuers know where to go.

"It is this kind of 21st century technology that the government wants to encourage with new funding."

Our correspondent says the innovation the DfID is looking for is not all computer-based.

The fund will assist the development of buckets that can be filled with clean water and sealed, and lightweight collapsible wheelchairs.

With the world expected to face more natural disasters in the years to come, affecting many more people than before, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the response had to improve - and harnessing new technology was one part of the solution.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    disasters have been on the tv throughout my life time, we have people who have tried,in vain, to bring the world together, live aid being a prime example. now again we are looking at the problem of aid and how to apply to solve the problem of saving lives in these situations. i hope they ie.all gov's throughout the world achieve some understanding of the problems and work together pessimistic yes

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    I've been thinking for years that the UN should have strategically placed reserves in various places around the globe that could immediately be mobilised in such situations. Rather than have to go cap in hand when disaster strikes, they could offer a fast, effective response giving time for other nations, charities, etc. to assess the longer term requirements. Cheaper than an ad hoc approach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Well ok, but what we need to do at the same time is to try and stabilise the worlds population. The numbers affected by natural disasters will continue to rise until we tackle this apparently taboo subject. It doesn't take a large brain to work out that we have become too successful, and nature normally has way to deal with species that threaten to overrun, its time we stopped being so arrogant.


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