New emergency kits for quicker relief organisation response

March 30, 2016, CORDIS
New emergency kits for quicker relief organisation response
Credit: Shutterstock

Developed through the EU-funded SPEEDKITS project, these cost-effective, modular and easy-to-use kits, providing first aid support in terms of shelter, medical care, drinking water, sanitation and basic energy needs, will enable humanitarian workers to provide swift and effective aid when disaster strikes.

The kits have been tailored to deal with specific emergencies, and will improve the lives of millions of people during the first hours, days and weeks of a major disaster. They can be deployed in affected cities, improvised camps or scattered rural regions on short notice.

Senegal and South Africa Demonstrations

The project's innovative shelter and tent solutions were recently demonstrated in northern Senegal. Emergency housing includes a "clever roof" (an ultra-light weight safe shelter for one family) and a "Progressive House" (a shelter for families up to five people).

A modular warehouse tent was also set up at the local headquarters of the Senegalese Red Cross. The deployment of these prototypes enabled the consortium to gather valuable information and to fine tune solutions before bringing the kits to market.

Larger kits for immediate use beyond critical first aid, such as sanitation units, sustainable energy generation and mobile recycling units for debris, have also been developed. Sanitation kits include a foldable raised latrine for emergency cases and a semi-manual water drilling kit.

Another interesting innovation includes a pasteurisation and biogas unit for off-site sludge treatment and a sanitation kit to pasteurise sludge early on before depositing. This kit was recently tested in an agricultural community in the Cape region of South Africa.

The kit was successfully erected within two hours. In parallel, progress has been made towards designing an autonomous rapid deployment plug-and-play hospital that can handle between 80 and 120 people, complete with hygienic rooms and critical installations.

Improving emergency infrastructure

The project builds on existing disaster relief procedures. Humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross have sleeping emergency response units (ERU), which are put in place immediately after disaster strikes. Each ERU has a specific function, e.g. , sanitation, energy provision, or water supply.

The SPEEDKITS project sought to improve the delivery of such emergency infrastructure by first assessing current equipment solutions and identifying key challenges such as supply bottlenecks and weight. Novel materials and concepts were then developed to drastically reduce volume and weight, making transportation easier.

Successful examples include lightweight but durable and thermally insulated tent materials, novel concepts for energy supply (biogas from sanitation), textiles to line pit latrines and smarter packaging (smaller units have been designed to fit into medium ones, which then go into larger ones, like a Russian doll). As emergency response units need to be onsite as soon as possible, ensuring that the kits are easy to transport and install is essential.

The SPEEDKITS project was guided by the Red Cross and involved experts in material and structural engineering, industrial design and architecture. The new units will not only save lives in the first days and weeks after a disaster, but also put in place the seeds for rebuilding for future generations.

Explore further: How to have a well-stocked first-aid kit

More information: For further information please visit the SPEEDKITS project website: www.speedkits.eu/

Related Stories

How to have a well-stocked first-aid kit

November 17, 2015
A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies. Ideally, one kit should be in the home and one in the family car.

EU launches medical emergency corps

February 15, 2016
The European Union on Monday launched its own medical corps to respond faster to emergencies such as the recent Ebola outbreak, with the capacity to act both within and outside the bloc.

Learning from the MDGs: Improved sanitation and drainage in cities

October 8, 2015
World leaders have agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but arguably Goal six - the water and sanitation goal - will have the hardest job building on the work undertaken by the previous Millennium Development ...

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.