mandag 24. januar 2011

Earthquakes: sudden and severe devastation

Earthquakes are some of the most devastating kinds of natural disasters. They have the potential to cause major devastation, both regarding human lives and damage to infrastructure. An example is the catastrophic scenario of the Haiti earthquake of 12 January 2010. It affected three million people. The mortality was estimated to 230,000. As much as 300,000 were reported injured and one million made homeless (MSNBC, 2010). As the epic center hit close to the capital, the densely populated Port-au-Prince and nearby areas

were caused major destruction. Massive collapses of buildings, roads, bridges and electricity networks made the help relief extremely difficult. The infrastructural damages slowed the process dramatically. Communication was difficult, making the help relief even harder to organize.

To avoid problems when infrastructure is severely damaged, a fast and flexible system for help relief is needed. A system based on an alternate energy network and artificial intelligence can prove to be of invaluable help in extreme situations as earthquakes.

The paper Leon, Krispin, Zakir and I sent in to Education Without Borders is about rapid help relief, which can prove invaluable in situations like the one we witnessed in Haiti. I hope we will be able to discuss the ideas with people at the conference!