15 January 2010

Urgent Solutions ~ Fast, Flexible, Scalable, Now

I've written before about the usefulness of containerized infrastructure and floating infrastructure -- e.g. hospital ships, power generation barges, containerized health clinics, and more. Devastation in post-quake Port-au-Prince -- and, btw, in other disaster-struck or war-ravaged recovery zones -- demands that we invest heavily in ramping up and deploying many more of these urgent solutions, certainly as an essential part of rebuilding Haiti properly. Here's further examples of fast, flexible, scalable, and re-deployable container-systems which are all needed now. First of all, water desalination and purification, for instance this HOH-USA unit... Next, wastewater treatment systems such as this Ozzi Clean unit...And modular electricity generation units, such as this HAASE Combined Heat & Power system... And, of course, flexible fuel (e.g. LPG) and clean water storage mechanisms such as these containerized tanks by Chassis King... Finally, one of my favorites, Tempohousing living spaces...


gCaptain.com said...

Great post!

It's seemingly obvious solution, but I surely haven't seen the idea discussed in relation to Haiti.

The US military already does this with prepositioned ships. These are basically ships that sit idle at locations throughout the world. Although these ships rarely move, they are fully crewed with a full compliment of mariners and loaded down with cargoes similar to these. The thought being that, if a war breaks out, ships will be nearby and ready to supply the military at a moments notice.

If the idea works for the military, I can't see why it would not work for humanitarian missions... well other than the cost involved.


Joost Bonsen said...


Thanks, excellent points, especially about the fundamental challenge of ramping-up container delivery. The Military Sealift Command's Prepositioning program experience seems an ideal analog for thinking about some kind of "Emergency Readiness Strategy".

As I noted my in Global 911 post -- http://www.maximizingprogress.org/2010/01/global-911-better-faster-first-response.html -- we really need more emergency infrastructure available at scale, something my MIT colleague Doug Ling called creating a "Firestation Earth".

Perhaps the humanitarian analog could be financed via some kind of insurance mechanisms? Even creating a mechanism by which the key manufacturers are financially supported to maintain a deeper finished-goods inventory would accelerate emergency deployments when the alarm is sounded.

The military logistics experience with flexible amphibious landings via barges and even hovercraft seems also quite relevant to learn from in cases and places where ports are ravaged or absent -- http://www.maximizingprogress.org/2010/01/flexible-delivery-in-absence-of-ports.html

Btw, about containerized responses, I was very pleased to see Tempohousing come out with a Haiti Rapid Shelter Solution -- http://www.maximizingprogress.org/2010/01/rapid-shelter-solutions-tempohousing.html