Securing food supplies following humanitarian crises
by Stephen Stocks, Marketing & Communications Manager at NRS International
On the occasion of World Food Day, this blog examines how mobile storage units play a vital role in securing food supplies following natural disasters
16 October is World Food Day
On this day 69 years ago, 42 countries created the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Their goal was to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and to effectively manage the global food system. The FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on 16 October to commemorate their founding. Events are organised in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.
Food supply the top priority following Hurricane Matthew
This year, World Food Day comes just a few short days after Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in Haiti. The full extent of the devastation is now coming to light, and it is estimated that, in addition to the more than 500 killed, an additional 750,000 need urgent humanitarian aid for the next three months. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and its infrastructure has been badly affected. As a result, food supply is a major concern.
In the aftermath of disasters, storing food is always a top priority, and Haiti is no different. Dozens of aid agencies and NGOs are now importing food and core relief items into the area, yet finding that there is little or no infrastructure in place. Most importantly, there are no secure storage areas for the thousands tons of food that the affected populations so desperately need.
So what can be done if there are no suitable warehousing facilities for food? Put simply, it has to be built there and then, often in very challenging circumstances. It is in exactly in these situations that mobile storage units (MSUs) can provide a quick, inexpensive yet long-lasting solution to the problem of storing food, and indeed any other commodity.
Mobile Storage Units offer fast and effective food storage
Our subsidiary NRS Relief is supplying its Rex Hall MSUs to aid agencies globally in the aftermath of such natural disasters as being experienced in Haiti. Available in variety of basic sizes, from about 60 square meters to 360 square meters and beyond, these multi-purpose storage tents can be erected by a small team of four to six people, in a matter of hours. Crucially, this can be done without the need for heavy lifting equipment or working on heights. Once up, the mobile storage unit can store hundreds of tons of food.
However, storing food presents its own set of unique challenges. It is crucial that insects and vermin are prevented from entering the storage area. The Rex Hall addresses this concern through its unique system of ballast anchors on the tent mud flaps. These are large PVC tubes that are attached to the metal framework of the tent. Once filled with water, their heavy weight presses the mud flap hard onto to the ground, effectively creating a seal. This prevents rats and other scavenging animals entering the tent.
Weather resistance is also key to securing food storage. The Rex Hall is designed to withstand high winds up to 31 m/s (<110 km/h) and its UV resistant translucent PVC fabric is suitable for both hot and cold climates. Large ventilators ensure a continuous air flow within the tent, and removable mosquito netting and rain flaps provide additional protection. Air conditioning units can be installed in hotter climates to keep food fresh.
The Rex Hall has been designed specifically to be air freighted following a natural disaster, and has a lightweight aluminium frame and space efficient packaging. This allows for cost-effective transportation to wherever on the planet disaster strikes.
Through such innovative products, NRS Relief empowers its customers to respond effectively to any humanitarian crisis, and specifically in the case of Rex Hall, to ensure effective storage and distribution of food.