Demand for electricity continues to escalate, but energy infrastructure is just not keeping pace and is unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future. At the same time, climate change is underpinning an increase in extreme weather conditions in areas that are quite unused to such phenomena.
That means that power outages like the one that affected 600 million people in India last week will become far more common, not just in the developing world, but also in the many other regions of the world.
It is particularly worrying that governments at national and local levels appear to taking emergency preparedness lightly and, as a result, lifestyles, livelihoods and even lives are being put at risk. Those preparations that are in hand appear to focus solely on increasing the reliability of power supplies, but outages remain inevitable and communities remain ill-equipped to deal with the resulting problems.
Whilst governments may not be planning effectively for disaster recovery, increasing numbers of individuals are.
Freeplay has long experience of working with people in developing countries, where a wind up radio or solar radio can offer vital access to information about health, agriculture, education and impending severe weather. Now that power outages around the world are becoming a regular occurrence, a growing number of people from urban areas are coming to us to help them prepare for when their electricity supply fails. People are looking after themselves, but governments need to be doing far more to help and may soon find that their own citizens require the sort of emergency preparedness and disaster relief previously reserved for other countries.