Building resilience in communities on the brink of disaster…and more

Where humans fear to tread: robots are the future of disaster relief


What’s high-tech to the rest of the world has always been so last year to Japan. Which is why, if you want to know where truly futuristic tech is going, you don’t look at Silicon Valley – you look at Tokyo. And this year, it’s all about their newest humanoid robot. At the recent International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan displayed a pair of two-legged humanoid robots completely equipped for disaster relief management. These robots can operate in the kind of harsh conditions that thwart human rescue and relief efforts – at a demo, a pair of these humanoid machines with sensors attached to tiny…


Building resilience in communities on the brink of disaster

The sky blackened as locusts descended upon our small village on the border of the Sahel Desert. I was only weeks into my Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso, but for the Fulani people living there for generations, it was the worst devastation anyone had ever seen. Overnight all vegetation was gone. The combination of locusts and drought destroyed millet harvests and green pastures for livestock. This exacerbated an already food insecure situation for 1,000 people living on the edge of a growing desert. My assignment to build a meeting room for a village savings club and teach bookkeeping quickly became absurd after the locusts came. All of the able-bodied men left with their cattle literally in search of greener pastures. Women, children and the elderly stayed behind. The village became a ghost town as the food security…


Plea to get youth involved in disaster planning

Young people in the Caribbean need to become actively involved in the disaster management process. Antigua & Barbuda’s youth representative Kaynas Phillips made an impassioned plea to delegates at the 9th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management in the Bahamas recently. The diploma student from Island Academy presented on the importance of getting youth more involved. Phillips believes youth, in general, is underused in the disaster management process. The 16-year-old said the conference was both inspiring and educational and it had motivated her to get involved in disaster management. Philmore Mullin, director of the National Office of Disaster Services, who headed the nation’s delegation to the November 29-December 6 event, added that the conference was significant for both Antigua & Barbuda and the region…


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