What an idea! 3 ways to tackle disasters

Three innovations – a fire-resistant cloth bag, a floating toilet and a tubewell on a raised platform – that won prizes at an innovation contest recently, promise# to be handy while tackling disasters in Assam.

The contest was organised by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority here.

The fire-resistant cloth bag, prepared by brothers Rameez and Suhail Ahmad Dar, can be useful in evacuating people trapped in an inferno in a building. Rameez studies computer science and engineering in Tezpur University while Suhail is pursuing clinical psychology in Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. They hail from Badgam, Srinagar, in Jammu and Kashmir.

The cloth bag is a long, hollow cloth bag or pipe of cylindrical shape. It has great elasticity, higher fire resistance and thermal stability that can be used for swift evacuation. The cloth pipe is attached to iron stands installed in the wall at the emergency exit doors of a building which run up to the ground. The trapped people can enter the elastic cloth pipe and reach the ground directly. The pipe is transparent and so the victims will get sufficient air and light.

Rameez told The Telegraph: “The cloth is made up of various chemical components and polymers, such as polysiloxane and halogen-based compounds with higher melting points. This cloth can also be used as fire-fighting suits.”

Mridul Deka, a doctor and chief executive officer of Doctors for You, an NGO, developed a model of a floating toilet while tubewells on raised platforms set up by Rural Volunteers Centre (RVC) has already been used in flood affected villages in Upper Assam’s Dhemaji district. The model can ensure proper sanitation for flood victims.

“Unlike traditional toilets, here the waste can be disposed of at a safe distance and thus reduce the probability of water contamination. Fibre glass-based floating toilets can be transported and reassembled easily. These toilets can be used for at least 30 years,” Deka said.

Tubewells on platforms constructed by the RVC (with the help of Save the Children) at a height of 10 to 12 feet has already benefited 68 households under Muktiyar panchayat in Dhemaji district.

“Safe drinking water is the biggest problem during floods as all drinking water sources remain submerged for days. Keeping this in mind, we set up at least 30 tubewells in Dhemaji that will remain operational for 30 to 40 years. Each tubewell costs between Rs 65,000 and 70, 000 and our government agencies can set up more such tubewells in all the flood-prone areas,” RVC secretary Dharma Raj Karki said.

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