Daily news reports are showing the severity and tragedy of the tsunami that wreaked havoc on Northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. The amount of people dead, missing, and injured continues to rise and ultimate damage reports will take weeks to be fully realized. The world watches in dismay and many question what can be done, how can we help, and can this much destruction be better prepared for or avoided in the future?
Action must be taken to help those who need it most and people, worldwide, will come together in these gravest moments to provide temporary shelters, to aid, to donate blood and belongings, to join rescue missions, cleaning crews and re-building committees. This devotion to help is what makes humanity, but prevention of such loss comes from experience and knowledge that humans gain and must use.
In the years to come, as Japan rebounds, perhaps the appropriate steps for part of their re-building is to provide shelter systems that are safe for people to ride out the storms. This is a need that must be met, not only in Japan but for all countries and cities that could face the mass destruction of natural disasters, such as tsunamis and severe floods.
A US patented design by land developer, Miguel A. Serrano, named after the weather phenomenons that it is built to endure and its designed structure: Storm, Tornado and Tsunami Interconnected Modules Shelters (STATIM) could be one of many life-saving mechanisms that become part of the built world.
The STATIM Shelter System is a series of pre-cast concrete modules that are assembled with gasket joints and post-tension cables. This combination and design ensures a water-tight shelter with buoyancy and self-righting capabilities. The use of concrete is because it:
- Is available worldwide at a low cost
- Is strong
- Is a long life-cycle material
- Can be mass-produced
- Does not require skilled labor.
The other features that Serrano’s shelters will have are:
- Secured seating (up to 50 occupants)
- Survival gear
- Supplies to last (until rescue crews arrive)
- Choice of installation
It could be argued that, as fatalities climb in the thousands from Japan that shelters built for only 50 occupants are not enough but with varieties in installation, units could be underground and as many as necessary, never noticed by the masses, until needed.
Striving to help fellow man in times of need is crucial but making a difference so that they don’t have to endure the same tragedies repeated is Darwinian. The STATIM shelter is a start for a safer tomorrow.