international day for national disaster reduction

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction


October 13th is known as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. The date aims to encourage both citizens and the government to take part in becoming more disaster-resilient communities. As we approach this important date, we investigate the next-generation technology that has been helping cities prepare and tackle climate disasters.

Senseable City Lab 

Shanty areas (favelas) in Brazil have long been a concern for the government and the people living in them. Having been developed in sub-par areas and with rapid growth, the favelas have always been prone to natural disasters. The lack of basic sanitation and proper drainage makes the soil easily eroded provoking landslides and resulting in hundreds of deaths. To combat that problem, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed an instrument to map underdeveloped areas to prevent natural disasters. The technology uses a handheld 3D-scanning light detection and ranging (Lidar) device to analyze the surrounding environment and determine areas more prone to landslides. The project called Favela 4D will be used to help the local government improve the most vulnerable areas and be used as a case study to help other shanty towns worldwide in combating natural disasters.

Image from patent US2016356890 AA

Water-filled flood-barriers

Barriers have long been built and utilised to keep lowlands from flooding. They act as an impediment to tsunamis and floods, can be made of a variety of materials, including soil, sand, rocks, or concrete, and are employed as preventive measures. These preventive barriers may be insufficient in some circumstances, which is why scientists have designed a temporary system that can self-deploy in the event of flooding. This plastic and water-based floating device is utilised as a fence in flood-prone areas, keeping towns from being underwater. The device, which is easy to set up and maintain, may be used in an emergency to save millions of lives.

Image from patent US2007243021 AA

Survival capsule

When natural disasters strike, seeking refuge is always a top priority. Whether it’s leaving the affected area, going into public shelters, or staying at home, people need to find ways to stay safe during a state of emergency. After the tsunami in 2004, engineers got to work and developed a life-saving device to shelter people during natural disasters. The rescue pod is designed to protect people in the event of tsunamis and other catastrophic weather events. The pod is buoyant, fixed with bulletproof windows, and equipped with emergency rations of food and water for up to three days. The capsule is designed for two people and has neon and flashing lights to aid rescuers in locating the pod once the storm has passed. Suitable to withstand even the most extreme conditions, the rescue pod can save your life and the life of your loved ones in just a few moments.

Image from patent US2014290555 AA - international day for national disaster reduction


The innovations mentioned above are examples of ways in which scientists and engineers are helping to reduce the cost and impact of natural disasters and save millions of lives. In honour of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, it is important to emphasize the need to continue developing technologies that will help save lives and reduce the impact of catastrophes.

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All images in this article are from PatBase.