Context

In July 2016, the Assad regime lay siege to Eastern Aleppo, preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered by air and by land to both the rebels and 250,000 civilians [1]. As the siege stretched on, the available supplies dwindled and the population was at risk of starvation, dehydration and lacked access to medical supplies.

Aleppo Map

Humanitarian Aid Requirements

There are four critical components to humanitarian aid: food, water, medical supplies and fuel [2]. A pre-packaged human daily ration weighs 850 g. When packaged in bulk, the weight of a daily ration can be reduced to 550 g, however, that is under the assumption that a partnering party is on the ground to distribute the supplies evenly. Clean water can be achieved with chemical purifiers like chlorine pills and filters. Most basic medical supplies are not very heavy, such as bandaids, medicine, and disinfecting materials. Fuel is required to run field hospitals, and a typical 50-bed field hospital requires 100 kWh/day.

Needs Assessment

Given the expected increase in humanitarian disasters in the near future due to climate change [3] and rising political tensions, government and humanitarian aid agencies need a low-cost, disposable method for delivering humanitarian aid supplies to large, isolated populations in active combat zones.

References

[1] Vox, The crisis in Aleppo, explained in 4 minutes. 2018.

[2] F. Busse, Aleppo and Beyond: Options for Delivering Humanitarian Aid in Dangerous Conditions. MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 2016.

[3] “Weather-related disasters are increasing”, The Economist, 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/08/29/weather-related-disasters-are-increasing. [Accessed: 29- Nov- 2018].