December 3, 2015

REfugee camps are almost permanent and residents are putting down roots for a permanent off-grid life

Refugee camps are future cities

The growing number of refugees flooding into camps worldwide could drastically redraw urban areas, it has been claimed. Most camps are largely off-grid, with fires and solar panels the main source of heat and power. In America Republicans have blocked asylum to war-torn Syrians, but around the world hundreds of thousands are arriving in need of shelter.

The camps they are building will become the cities of tomorrow, it has been claimed. An expert in humanitarian made the statement as it’s revealed the average amount of time people spend in the camps is a staggering 17 YEARS.

Kilian Kleinschmidt worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugee s (UNHCR) for 25 years.

The former head of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Northern Jordan says: “In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city.”

“I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis,” he said.

“These are the cities of tomorrow,” he continued. “The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That’s a generation. Let’s look at these places as cities.”

The 53-year-old’s comments come at the end of a year which will be remembered for its vast refugee numbers, and the seeming unwillingness of host countries to offer them help.

The Zaatari camp which Kilian oversaw has now swollen to provide accommodation for 160,000 Syrians.

As such, it’s identified as the Jordan’s fifth largest city, with 6,000 people a day arriving after fleeing war against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria.

The overcrowded 2.8 square mile camp costs £700,000 a day to run.

There are no trees or bushes to provide shade on sun-baked land which was previously snake and scorpion-infested scrubland.

But there are football pitches, field hospitals, schools and a children’s playground aimed at keeping some 60,000 youngsters busy.

Every day some 12 to 15 babies are born at Zaatari.

Now running his own aid consultancy, Switxboard, Kilian says that far from being resisted, migrants should be used to boost the economy.

He names Germany, with 600,000 job vacancies and a need for tens of thousands of new apartments, as a country where this could be put into practice.


In the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, anxiety is understandable, said Bill Canny, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services. But governors and other politicians are not responding reasonably by calling for a “pause” or even the termination of efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States. Refugees being selected for U.S. resettlement, he said, “are certainly not a credible threat by any way, shape, or means.”

“The people who are fleeing ISIS are fleeing for the same reasons that anyone flees,” he said. “They’re being bombed. They’re not being allowed to …

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In Washington DC human toulets are a source of power - 5KW per day

‘Poo power’ to combat climate change

(MENAFN – Gulf Times – Wash DC, Dec 3) IKn a development which will give hope to the Climate Change talks in Paris, the stench of clogged toilets fills the air at a Washington DC wastewater treatment facility.

Its all about decarbonisation – as one of the world’s largest projects to transform human waste into electricity gets under way.

“They make green energy,” said engineer Chris Peot of Washington’s toilet-goers during a tour of the sprawling space in the southeast of the city.

DC Water’s Blue Plains plant treats 370mn gallons (1,400mn litres) of dirty water from more than 2mn households on a daily basis, purging it with micro-organisms that first ingest carbon and then transform nitrates into nitrogen gas.

Once that’s done, the water is clean enough to flow into the nearby Potomac River or Chesapeake Bay without disrupting the fragile ecosystems.

As for the excrement, it is either recycled as compost or, in a new step implemented six months ago, used to produce 10MW of electricity.

The “poop power” generated is theoretically enough to supply some 8,000 households, although in practice the energy is ploughed straight back into powering the plant.

To do so, plant workers collect the solid matter that slips to the bottom of the treatment pools and subject it to a Norwegian hydrolysis technique that is being used in North America for the first time.

According to Peot, DC Water’s director of resource recovery, the process allows the plant to extract organic material and convert it to methane.

When burned, the methane generates power that is used to help run the plant.

“This project embodies a shift from treating used water as waste to leveraging it as a resource,” said DC Water’s chief executive George Hawkins as he inaugurated the $470mn facility on October 5, financed by water bills.

The methane is produced through the decomposition of organic waste by bacteria in huge vats that stand 80 feet (25m) tall, with each capable of “digesting” 3.8mn gallons of solid matter.

The biogas is then used to operate three turbines, each the size of a jet engine, to produce 13MW of electricity, three of which are immediately used for the hydrolysis.

The remaining 10MW are used by the water treatment plant the biggest energy consumer in Washington reducing its carbon footprint by a third and cutting operating costs by millions of dollars a year, according to Peot.

“It saves us money, avoids us having to buy power off the grid, which largely comes from coal,” he said.

According to Todd Foley, chief strategy officer at the American Council on Renewable Energy, it’s a “way to diversify the energy mix and control our energy costs”.

“There will be an increased role for that kind of activity,” he predicted.

Wind, solar and biomass combined accounted for just 6% of the world’s electricity supply in 2014, according to the …

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