Ductus 8: Friday

Ductus 8 has decided to focus on providing immediate aid to refugees of natural disasters with the distribution of special ‘care packages’. These would fulfill a number of the important needs we discussed, and would be adaptable for different emergencies and people. Specifically, we are choosing to focus on the victims of hurricanes, people displaced by flooding and damage caused by the massive storms. The package, called a “Lifebox”, is intended to help educate and calm refugees in addition to addressing some important logistical needs. One common fact about many refugees is that while they may not have much to their names, many take the time to grab one precious “thing” of personal or sentimental value before fleeing their homes – a photograph, a ring, family heirloom, etc. These things may not have practical value on the run, but they provide a sense of identity and connection with the past, reminding people that there is hope for the future. Unfortunately, these things are often easily lost, damaged, and even stolen while being carried around and kept in temporary shelters. In order to provide personal comfort and care to the individuals affected by the hurricanes, Lifebox would include a functioning weatherproof safebox in which personal items can be kept safely locked up and stored. Upon their arrival – likely dropped in by commercial planes/helicopters – they can also be filled with other necessary/useful items. For instance, access to clean water is a major issue in most disaster situations, but there are water bottles capable of making filtering and cleaning even the most contaminated water for up to 3 years, and would be included in the Lifebox. There is also the potential to further create a sense of calm and safety by embedding sensors in the box itself, which could send out signals that pinpoint the location of the people with the box so that they can be found by rescuers during an emergency. There is even the possibility that the devices could allow limited Internet access, enough for to make communication and instruction possible during emergencies or travel. Finally, the box itself can serve as an instruction manual, coming with sets of graphic (and therefore universal) instructions on what to do in various critical situations, not unlike the emergency guides found on most airplanes. In order to save space inside for other critical items, these graphics would be provided on the box itself. Knowledge gives people some power, however small, to take control of certain situations, something that many refugees almost certainly feel a lack of, and bolsters confidence and hope. While certain kinds of care packages do exist through organizations such as the Salvation Army, most of these are focused on sending the essentials of food, water, clothing, etc. Alongside these, the Lifebox will support refugees in a crucial way by providing a semblance of the security lost during disasters.