Saturday, April 6, 2013

FEMA: Contributing Ideas in support of the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS)

Contributing Ideas in support of the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS) Follow-On Acquisition

FEMA’s Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the cornerstone of the nation’s strategy for preparing communities for flood disaster.  (Learn more about flood insurance at  NFIP was created to reduce flood damage by identifying risks, encouraging sound floodplain management, and providing a mechanism for the public to insure their investments.  FEMA and its governmental partners provide flood hazard data and maps to support flood insurance and floodplain management activities. 

To leverage the successes of previous programs and further enhance the usability and value of flood hazard mapping, FEMA developed the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program.  Risk MAP combines flood hazard mapping, risk assessment tools and Hazard Mitigation Planning into one program.  This integrated program encourages beneficial partnerships and innovative uses of flood hazard and risk assessment data in order to minimize flood loss and build more resilient communities.

While the focus of Risk MAP is on flood hazard identification, risk assessment, and mitigation, working with communities to help them increase their resilience from all natural hazards is also a goal of the program.  Reducing risk to people and property from natural hazards and reducing a community’s long-term vulnerability may present additional opportunities that the community can leverage to create a safer tomorrow.

ideascaleFEMA is conducting Market Research in preparation of procuring the next Production & Technical Services (PTS) contracts and is investigating new Community Engagement and Risk Communication (CERC) options.   Specifically, FEMA is interested in ideas to improve the day-to-day design, execution and management of CERC campaigns, products and services to encourage our nation’s communities to increase awareness and take action to reduce the risk of loss of life and property from floods and natural other hazards.  In addition, FEMA is looking at ways to leverage technology to increase efficiency, cost effectiveness and usability in its products and services. 

FEMA would like to invite individuals and/or organizations to contribute to FEMA’s Market Research for the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS) Follow-On Acquisition. These instructions briefly discuss how to access the FEMA IdeaScale site located at, create an account, and participate in the Risk MAP PTS discussion. 
We’re innovating new technology & techniques to educate ourselves about what ideas, best practices and proven techniques may be available to support the Risk MAP PTS Follow-On Acquisition. To start contributing ideas in support of market research for the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS) follow-on acquisition, simply go to

To vote to Agree or Disagree and/or contribute to the conversations, just search for the “Risk MAP PTS” campaign under the list of campaigns along the left side of the webpage. Click on the Risk MAP PTS campaign to be directed to that page. Additionally, if you can’t find the Risk MAP PTS campaign on the left-hand side column, simply search for “Risk MAP” or “PTS” and the campaign should come up. We recommend posting your contributions anonymously so as not to sway the conversation or inhibit contributions from non-FEMA contributors. See more detailed instructions on how to register and participate in the site below.

Finally, we would appreciate it if you would share this site and these instructions with individuals or organizations whose inputs you think would benefit our Market Research. Since communication with industry is encouraged to conduct market research in advance of a solicitation per FAR Park 10 Market Research “Participating in interactive, on-line communication among industry, acquisition personnel, and customers”, feel free to distribute this invitation to entities outside the government. Our contracting officer is fully aware of, and supports this approach to conducting market research. Please note that the layout of the IdeaScale site may be different if you are accessing it using a mobile device.

Thanks for your participation!

FEMA Risk MAP Program 

IdeaScale Log-in Instructions In the upper right corner of the page there are options to Register or Log in. If you are a new user to FEMA’s IdeaScale website, you must register. For returning users, your existing login will allow you to access the site. To register on the FEMA Ideascale site, just provide an email address to access to the site. Once you have entered this information, you will receive an email from FEMA to verify your account. Open the email and follow the link that says “Yes, this is my email!” We recommend you begin your efforts with viewing the brief IdeaScale familiarization video on the IdeaScale homepage: remember to choose the “anonymous” option when providing your feedback.

Water Wars: Slingshot. Water Vapor Distillation System

Slingshot (water vapor distillation system)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slingshot is a water purification device created by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway PT.[1] Powered by a stirling engine running on a combustible fuel source, it claims to be able to produce clean water from almost any source.[2]

Kamen came to develop the device on the basis of statistics that showed lack of access to clean water as a key public health issue. Statistics from the World Health Organization show that there are 900 million people worldwide without a readily available supply of drinking water and that some 3.5 million people die annually because of diseases resulting from the consumption of unsanitary water. Despite the fact that over two-thirds of the Earth's surface is covered with water, only 1% of it is potable.[3]

Kamen sought to develop a technology that would transform the 97% of water that is undrinkable into water that can be used and consumed on the spot, readily and inexpensively. The device takes contaminated water and runs it through a vapor compression distiller that produces clean water, producing 250 gallons daily (~946 litres), enough for 100 people. The test devices have been used with "anything that looks wet", including polluted river water, saline ocean water and raw sewage.[3] In a demonstration at a technology conference in October 2004, Kamen ran his own urine through the machine and drank the clean water that came out.[4]

By the end of 2000, a team of 200 at DEKA had produced 30 units, each the size of a compact refrigerator.[4] A pair of Slingshot devices ran successfully for a month in a village in Honduras during the summer of 2006. While the initial devices cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Kamen hopes that increased economies of scale will allow production machines to be made available for $2,000 each.[3]

The Slingshot process operates by means of vapor compression distillation, requires no filters, and can operate using cow dung as fuel. In addition to producing drinkable water, the Slingshot also generates enough electricity to light 70 energy-efficient light bulbs.

Kamen hopes to seed thousands of the units with local village entrepreneurs, in much the same way independent cell phone businesses have thrived and gradually changed the face of many impoverished areas around the globe. Future target price for the device is in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. [5]

See also
1.      ^ Ulanoff, Lance. "Dean Kamen Honored by Popular Mechanics", PC Magazine, October 9, 2009. Accessed October 20, 2009.
2.      ^ Malnson, Donald. "Dean Kamen aims to clean water, generate electricity with Slingshot machine", Engadget, April 23, 2008. Accessed October 20, 2009.
3.      ^ a b c Bergeron, Ryan. "Segway inventor takes aim at thirst with Slingshot", CNN, September 11, 2009. Accessed October 18, 2009.
4.      ^ a b Pearson, Ryan. "Segway inventor drinks his own pee (really): Dean Kamen uses drama to test water-filter system.", Orange County Register, December 15, 2005. Accessed October 18, 2009.
5.      ^ Dean Kamen Unveils Slingshot, The Ultimate Water Regenerator, Impact Lab, April 22, 2008.
External links

Water Wars: Refreshing Partnership: Coca-Cola Teams Up With Slingshot to Deliver Clean Water

Refreshing Partnership: Coca-Cola Teams
Up With Slingshot to Deliver Clean Water
by Anna Gawel
Coca-Cola is taking its mission to quench the world’s thirst to a whole new level, supporting technology that could turn raw sewage into clean drinking water.

The world’s largest beverage company is teaming up with DEKA Research and Development and its president, Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway scooter, to bring Kamen’s “Slingshot” water purification system to developing communities that lack access to potable water.

The partnership is part of Coca-Cola’s larger sustainability push, which includes a goal to replenish 100 percent of the water used in its beverages and their production by 2020.

An intriguing partnership of a different kind brought the story of Slingshot to the diplomatic community in Washington, D.C.

Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan opened up his stately residence for a presentation on the project, co-hosted by Monaco’s ambassador, Gilles Noghès. Monaco supports various water initiatives through the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which aims to protect the environment and encourage sustainable development.

In a testament to the power of personal connections, Tan learned about Slingshot from Noghès’s wife Ellen, who’s active in supporting breast cancer awareness and other causes (also see “Monaco’s Ellen Noghès Forms Cancer Support Group for Diplomatic Spouses” in the November 2012 issue of The Washington Diplomat).

“When I first heard about this great invention called Slingshot from my friend Ellen, I couldn’t believe it was possible to turn dirty water into clean drinking water and I had to see it for myself,” Tan told guests at the Dec. 5 reception. “So I invited my dear friend Muhtar to participate by hosting this event.”

Muhtar would be Muhtar Kent, the Turkish-American chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., who told the group through a video message that he believed Slingshot would be “transformational in improving the health and quality of life of people around the world.”

“Water is becoming a scarce, valuable commodity. Today, more than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water,” Kent said. “Water is the lifeblood of our business and our commitment is to ensure we’re doing our part to replenish the water we use and give it back to communities around the world.”

To that end, Beatriz Perez, Coca-Cola’s first-ever chief sustainability officer and a 16-year veteran of the company, was on hand to explain how the iconic brand was working to promote “water, women and well being.”

For instance, one initiative, called 5by20, seeks to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020, joining forces with UN Women and numerous government and private sector partners on three continents. Since 2005, Coca-Cola has also conducted nearly 400 community water projects in more than 90 countries, working hand in hand with partners such as the World Wildlife Fund, USAID and CARE.

Likewise, Slingshot is a multi-pronged collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank Group, Africare and, of course, Kamen’s research company.

Though the match between Kamen’s water purification system and the beverage giant seems like a natural fit, it took years for the pieces to come together. “I think I brought it to Coke after I exhausted every other possibility,” Kamen joked.

In fact, the prolific American inventor — who, in addition to the Segway scooter, is the brainchild behind the insulin pump and portable dialysis machine — didn’t even set out to create a water purifying system.

His original intention a decade ago was to create a kidney dialysis machine that could sit at the home bedside of patients with renal failure to improve their quality of life. Such machines though need highly sterilized, medical-grade water every day to operate.

So Kamen set about constructing a machine that could turn tap water into medical-grade water — and soon realized that his innovation had much broader applications.

“Besides helping a few thousand people have a better quality of life, it could help a few billion people dying of [waterborne] diseases,” Kamen said.

But he still faced the problem of how to deliver this technology to the remote, rural parts of the world that needed it the most.

Kamen explained that many of his traditional corporate partners operated in countries that could afford sophisticated medical products — where safe drinking water was not an issue.

He finally, and fortuitously, stumbled onto Coca-Cola, which was eager to raise its environmental profile and, more importantly, had a presence in more than 200 nations around the world.

Kamen explained that Slingshot derives its name from the simple but effective weapon that David used to defeat Goliath. “It’s a little machine you can put anywhere and it can turn any kind of water into clean, safe drinking water,” he said.

Slingshot boils and evaporates any dirty water source — ocean water, river water, raw sewage, even arsenic-tainted water — and, through vapor-compression distillation, allows the pure water to condense and then be collected.

According to a Coca-Cola press release, one machine can purify up to 300,000 liters of water a year — enough daily drinking water for roughly 300 people — producing 10 gallons of clean water an hour while consuming less than one kilowatt of electricity, less than the amount of power needed for a handheld hairdryer.

Technology to convert unusable water into safe water has been the gold standard in addressing the looming water scarcity crisis. Kamen says his portable, low-energy machine — one of many variants on the market — is not a panacea. It is targeted for people with limited access to water and not intended to take the place of major water plants or other infrastructure. And although it only requires a small amount of energy to run, it still requires electricity, whether plugged into a local grid or powered by some other source — something not all communities have.

Kamen is also working with the communities to ensure that locals — not foreigners — are able to operate the machines. And he’s been working with Coca-Cola to scale up the technology while lowering its costs.

“For years we looked for a partner who could help us get the Slingshot machine into production, scale it up, bring down the cost curve, and deliver and operate the units in the places where the need is greatest,” Kamen said. “Now we have that partner with Coca-Cola, which brings unparalleled knowledge of working, operating and partnering in the most remote places of the world.”

In 2011, the company held a successful field trial of Slingshot at five schools outside Accra, Ghana, generating 140,000 liters of clean drinking water for 1,500 school children over a six-month span.

In 2013, the plan is to deliver millions of liters of clean drinking water to schools, health clinics and community centers in rural regions of Africa and Latin America — with the ultimate goal of adding more than half a billion liters of clean drinking water to the global water supply each year.

Though Slingshot is still in the early stages of mass distribution, hopes are high that the little machine can put a dent in a huge crisis.

Even though more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, only 1 percent of it is ready to drink, according to the World Health Organization, which estimates that more than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes.

In fact, almost one fifth of the world’s population (about 1.2 billion people) live in areas where water is physically scarce. One quarter of the global population also live in developing countries that face water shortages due to a lack of infrastructure to fetch water from rivers and aquifers, according to WHO.

The problem will only get worse with the unpredictable weather patterns spawned by climate change. The State Department predicts that by 2025, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will be living under water-stressed conditions, including roughly 2 billion people who will face absolute water scarcity.

Water scarcity touches on everything from international relations — conflicts typically erupt over access to resources — to women’s rights, because it’s often women and girls who spend hours each day collecting water, foregoing other economic and education opportunities.

Tackling water scarcity will require imagination and collective action, according to Coca-Cola’s chief. “Our sustainability initiatives have reinforced over and over again our belief in the power of collaboration,” Kent said. “Global challenges like water scarcity are bigger than any one company or organization and require us to think and partner beyond our own circles. Only through collective action and innovation will we achieve results where it’s most important.”

About the Author
Anna Gawel is the managing editor for The Washington Diplomat and a contributing writer for the Diplomatic Pouch. 

Muslim Charity Provides Disaster Relief to Hurricane Sandy Victims

: Home Report Archives (2011-2015) March Activism: Muslim Charity Provides Disaster Relief to Hurricane Sandy Victims

March 2013,  Muslim-American Activism

Muslim Charity Provides Disaster Relief to Hurricane Sandy Victims
Volunteers cut up fallen trees after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo Courtesy ICNA Relief)

The Islamic Circle of North America's charitable arm, ICNA Relief USA, has provided disaster response services in 21 disasters in 15 states over the last decade, including most recently during Hurricane Sandy. Charity is a central component of the Muslim faith, so when Sandy struck, 500 volunteers rushed to provide food, shelter and medical care for dozens of communities throughout New York and New Jersey.

ICNA Relief established food and basic supply distribution centers throughout the stricken states, including Somerset/Piscataway and Atlantic City in New Jersey and, in New York, Long Beach, Valley Stream and Far Rockaway on Long Island, Staten Island, and Brooklyn's Brighton Beach neighborhood. ICNA Relief volunteers gutted damaged homes, cut up fallen trees and handed out everything from diapers and heaters to hot meals and canned goods. They also set up free medical clinics in New York and New Jersey where survivors were able to receive free health check-ups and free over-the-counter medications.

Leaders from FEMA, officials from the White House's faith-based initiative, and elected officials including Mayor Langford of Atlantic City and Mayor Hameeduddin of Teaneck, NJ have applauded ICNA Relief's response to disasters and extraordinary work on the ground during times of crisis, including during Superstorm Sandy.

In addition to disaster services, ICNA Relief's 40 national chapters provide a number of charity services which are offered across the country to people of all faiths. These programs include women's shelters in seven states, food pantries in 10 states, hunger prevention programs, free family counseling services, disaster recovery and case management, and a national school supply drive that last year provided more than 20,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to needy children.

—Muna Howard

Haiti: More than half of US earthquake aid to Haiti went to US firms

Study finds Haiti aid largely went to US groups

More than half of US earthquake aid to Haiti went to US firms, organizations, study finds

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- A new report on American aid to Haiti in the wake of that country's devastating earthquake finds much of the money went to U.S.-based companies and organizations.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research analyzed the $1.15 billion pledged after the January 2010 quake and found that the "vast majority" of the money it could follow went straight to U.S. companies or organizations, more than half in the Washington area alone.
Just 1 percent went directly to Haitian companies.
The report's authors said that a lack of transparency makes it hard to track all the money.
"It is possible to track who the primary recipients of USAID funds are, yet on what are these NGOs and contractors spending the money?" authors Jake Johnston and Alexander Main wrote. "What percent goes to overhead, to staff, vehicles, housing, etc.? What percent has actually been spent on the ground in Haiti?"
USAID did not respond to requests to comment on the report Friday.
The group has been a critic of U.S. foreign policy in the past, accusing the U.S. of a top-down approach to aid that does little to alleviate poverty in impoverished Haiti.
The report also finds that the biggest recipient of U.S. aid after the earthquake was Chemonics International Inc., a for-profit international development company based in Washington, D.C., that has more than 4,800 employees.
Aside from the World Bank and United Nations, Chemonics is the single largest recipient of USAID funds worldwide, having received more than $680 million in fiscal year 2012 alone. In Haiti, Chemonics has received more than the next three largest recipients since 2010, a total of $196 million, or 17 percent of the total amount.
In Haiti, Chemonics' mandate has involved setting up a temporary structure for Parliament, renovation of public plazas and repair of the country's main courthouse, as well as organizing televised debates for the 2011 presidential election.
Typically, major players such as Chemonics subcontract project work to smaller firms, some of them of them local.
USAID has awarded $27.8 million of the $1.15 billion to Haitian and Haitian-American firms since the quake, according to the agency's website.
The obstacles blocking Haitian businesses from the contracts are many. They're often not competitive because they may not be able to get the financing they need from local banks.
Smaller firms also lack the resources to prepare costly, time-consuming applications, nor do they have the big companies' track records in other parts of the world or the kinds of connections that help open the right doors.
The report said subcontract information should be made available and called for increasing direct contracts for Haitian entities.