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Appropriate technology for refugees

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The usual criteria for appropriate technology are essential, being suitable to the local environment and the most critical needs of the users. Specifically for refugees' needs:

  • When there is a lack of outside assistance, use of local, readily available materials is especially important.
  • When there is outside assistance, affordable mass-produced survival equipment, mass-produced materials are generally desirable.
  • Ease and speed of delivery.
  • Ability to be prepared and stored beforehand as a contingency, by aid organizations, for rapid deployment.
  • Compact packing, e.g. flat pack or stacking. This is essential for preparation beforehand and quick transport.
  • Ease and safety of use by refugees with a minimum of demonstrations and instructions.
  • Line drawing instructions included with the technologies, just

Needed materials and technologies[edit]

Critical needs (first 48 hours)[edit]

When strategizing for possible future disaster responses, it is important to consider how the initial response will transition to longer term responses.

Short term needs (first days and weeks)[edit]

  • Fuel sources. Especially when travel is unsafe, alternatives such as effective solar cookers become attractive.
  • Transporting of water replaced or supplemented by emergency water treatment of local water sources, to ensure security of supply
  • Local sources of food identified.

Longer term needs[edit]

Sadly, many refugees remain in "temporary" camps for years. While on a political level it is important to avoid this happening, on a response and technology level, we can reduce the suffering implied by this:

  • More established forms of water treatment
  • Reuse of human waste is also desirable for longer term refugee camps, but is much less critical than preventing disease. Urine is the safest and easiest to reuse; EcoSan or Composting toilets take more work and require more caution to do safely.
  • Emergency permaculture: Growing food, using available resources, to supplement or replace aid.

See also[edit]