Funding available for disaster zone technologies

The government is backing a fund aimed at encouraging new ideas that could help save lives in a humanitarian crisis.

The £3.3m fund will support designs that can help improve access to water and sanitation in a disaster zone. Anyone can submit their ideas online and the best solutions will be given $20,000 (£12,130) to turn their idea into a reality.

Diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation account for 80 per cent of deaths in children under two during humanitarian emergencies.

The HIF initiative, managed by Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELHRA), will initially focus on two challenges: the design of a lighting system for individual latrines that is cheap, sustainable and difficult to steal or vandalise; and the design of a new incinerator, compactor or recycling method that is rapidly deployable, cost-effective and easy to use.

The Managing Solid Waste challenge is due to launch later in January, 2014. More information can be found here.