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 27.

    so more money for Pakistan and Africa (oh yes it is)
    how many more ways can people think up to exploit money out of us for the same old chestnut
    put it to bed
    charity begins at home

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Sounds like a good idea in essence but I rather suspect we'll be putting more into the kitty than we'll ever take out. Can we afford to do that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Some very mean spirited comments here! This kind of low cost fast/high impact response is actually an excellent use of resources. The reason for more "natural" disasters is climate change: 90% caused by rich western countries 90% of it currently affects poorer less developed nations. As for "charity begins at home", i suspect the same meanies here get a kick out of seeing disabled benefits cut!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The rate the UK is going downhill they will be soon sending the UK aid !

  • 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 22.

    Charity should start at home,true G4RRY.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Most aid is linked to trade. I would rather see the aid in the form equipment and expertise rather than money. " Sell a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business oppertunity" Karl Marx.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    HMS Great BrIrain is sinking under the weight of its biggest man made disaster so let's get that afloat first then consider the rest of the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    We are hugely in debt. Why are we borrowing to give to other countries. This is madness. Would you personally do it. borrow money to give to others. Of course not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Yes, we should all help when there are disasters, but not with general international aid so much of which falls into the wrong hands and/or does not reach the intended recipients. And yes, definitely try to stabilise/reduce world population - that is the biggest "disaster" facting the planet.

  • 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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    12.lordken - "Why are we spending money when we do not have any to spare"

    Easy, because we are not nearly as in debt as the Govt claimed to get elected. For sure the sums are huge, but put it into perspective - roughly £16k per man, woman & child in the UK, or to put another way, vastly less in debt than the average mortgage holder is.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    What a good idea, Whats next all the so called Big business { named } aid charitys ?helping the real poor people , by not giving our money to corupt governments for they swiss bank accounts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    When are we looking at the cause and not the symptoms of natural and manmade disasters? Just start to think in terms of what the “first law of thermodynamics” tells us. Then what the “second law of thermodynamics” tells us, and when we stay ignorant the “third law of thermodynamics” will kick in to finish it for us totally and eternally. Google “The World Monetary Order”.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    This sounds like the kind of simple, low-cost, useful initiative on which the UK should focus when seeking to help others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Why are we spending money when we do not have any to spare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I commend the UK DFID initiative, along with their other work.
    Oh dear, it appears the BBC comments section has largely been invaded by readers of the paper which shall not be named. Whilst not perfect, it shows that Britain's democratic system is necessary to avoid anarchy and extremism taking root.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Seems like a very sensible and controlled way if rendering assistance. Allows the UK to provide something it is good at doing quickly and with the maximum benefit at the point it is needed:

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    We should stop giving charity money to countrys that have a Space Program & Nucleaer missiles like India, untill they get there prioritys in order.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Whilst I agree that the 'developed world', (that has ammassed wealth at the expense of other less fortunate countries), should assist those in need, further investment in schemes such as this should be put on the 'back-burner' until this country is out of the supposed economic disaster that is affecting us at this time.


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