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Vending machines dispense free food and drink in emergencies

Global Goals & Global Society
Vending machines dispense free food and drink in emergencies

In a remarkable display of forward-thinking disaster preparedness, Japan has taken a pioneering step by incorporating vending machines into its natural disaster response strategy. In the event of a major earthquake or typhoon, these machines will dispense free food and drink to affected individuals. This initiative not only enhances the country's disaster resilience but also aligns with the vision of a global society committed to sustainable development and the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The coastal city of Ako, located in an area vulnerable to powerful earthquakes, has installed two vending machines near designated evacuation shelters. These machines, developed by Earth Corp, contain approximately 300 bottles and cans of soft drinks, as well as 150 emergency food items and nutritional supplements. In the event of a heavy rain warning or an evacuation order following an earthquake registering a magnitude of five or higher on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, the machines automatically unlock and offer their contents free of charge. During normal times, the items must be paid for.

Earth Corp, which operates a factory in Ako, plans to expand the installation of these innovative machines throughout the country. The company's representative expressed their intention to provide widespread access to free food and beverages during times of crisis.

By integrating vending machines into disaster response efforts, Japan seeks to enhance the safety and security of its residents. The provision of easily accessible sustenance during emergencies ensures that affected individuals receive immediate assistance, promoting the resilience of civil society in the face of natural disasters.

Japan's commitment to sustainability is evident in this initiative as well. By utilizing vending machines that offer free food and drink only during emergencies, the country avoids unnecessary waste or misuse of resources. This approach aligns with SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), which aims to ensure sustainable consumption patterns and reduce food waste.

Furthermore, this innovative approach contributes to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), as it enhances the preparedness and resilience of urban areas against natural disasters. By strategically locating vending machines near evacuation shelters, Japan emphasizes the importance of safeguarding communities in high-risk areas and creating a sustainable urban environment that can withstand and recover from catastrophic events.

In a separate development earlier this year, Japan introduced another groundbreaking vending machine equipped with a radio system in a Tokyo park. This machine automatically broadcasts emergency alerts in response to earthquakes registering a magnitude of 5 or higher, providing vital evacuation information sourced from local community radio stations. This radio-equipped vending machine highlights Japan's commitment to promoting sustainable resilience and empowering individuals with critical information during times of crisis.

As experts raise concerns about the likelihood of a "megaquake" occurring along the Nankai Trough within the next few decades, Japan's proactive measures demonstrate its determination to protect its citizens and build a sustainable society capable of withstanding natural disasters. These initiatives not only align with the country's vision for disaster preparedness and sustainable development but also serve as a global model for other nations striving to create resilient and sustainable communities.


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