We’re a private-sector “profit-for-purpose” business specializing in the humanitarian sciences
We work in slums, in refugee camps, in natural disasters, and in isolated communities far from conventional infrastructure.
A little context
Since 1950, the world's population has nearly tripled to more than seven billion people, with the majority now living in cities. At the same time, climate change has contributed to an increase in extreme weather events across the globe. Never before have so many been at such great environmental risk. According to the World Bank, "loss and damages from disasters have been rising over the last three decades, from an annual average of around $50 billion in the 1980s to just under $200 billion each year in the last decade." Tallied another way, an estimated 2.5 million people have lost their lives from natural disasters over the last 30 years and hundreds of millions more have had their lives disrupted. IHS helps address those growing threats through direct work on the ground.
Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS) is a Washington State company specializing in vulnerability reduction for systems and populations. We work with a range of partners to analyze the disaster risks within informal settlements in the developing world and we assist governments and communities with mitigation strategies for those at greatest risk.
We work closely with both public and private sector interests to reduce the impact of industrial and natural disasters using geospatial information, taxonomic data management, system dynamics, complex adaptive systems visualization, public health epidemiology, water reclamation, industrial waste re-purposing, and a participatory educational process based on free and open-source tools.
We have designed and installed a number of unique water purification systems and several now serve as small businesses for the urban poor. We contribute to open GIS data efforts globally, and we stress clean, fair, responsible, and sustainable manufacturing and procurement processes with our several partners.
We also lead the Global Disaster Response Team for the Roddenberry Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Star Trek franchise.
Urban disaster resilience is our core focus at IHS. Natural and industrial hazards are often unavoidable, but we can reduce the impact that makes them "disasters". Our project teams work with governments around the world at national, regional and community levels to provide both strategic and practical recommendations for understanding risk and strengthening the infrastructure needed for human security, particularly in slums. We then work with local implementing partners to make those recommendations reality while building regional skills.
We use the term "human security" carefully. In contrast to national security, the focus of human security is the safety and well-being of individuals and the communities they form, regardless of their location, nationality, religion, race, politics, sexual orientation, or social standing.
An important part of our work focuses on the delivery of safe drinking water, perhaps the most critical human need. IHS deploys compact, low-power water purification systems that can filter thousands of gallons per day from almost any local source in a disaster zone. We can use a rice paddy, lake or stream, a pond, an irrigation canal or even a roadside ditch. Our systems are rugged and comprehensive, removing contaminants ranging from cholera, E. coli, norovirus, and microsystin (the algal toxin that shut down the water supply in Toledo, Ohio in the summer of 2014) to pesticides, gasoline, fertilizers, arsenic, lead, and mercury.
With a collective fluency in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, our staff have been involved in more than a dozen major deployments all over the world, including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Banda Aceh, Hurricane Sandy in New York, Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the earthquake in Nepal. We have led medical, public health and communications teams working at the front lines in war zones like Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and have worked in refugee camps for Sudanese in Kenya and Angolans in Zambia. We're on faculty in several locations and have taught courses in disaster management and disaster medicine at institutes in the US, Europe and Asia.
In collaboration with Booz | Allen | Hamilton, IHS moderates a global Working Group on Human Geography Data with more than 2,600 members across more than 100 countries. Our conferences and webinars bring together experts to discuss global events from a range of perspectives: population demographics, complexity and non-linear systems, food security, cultural and religious divides, development economics, natural resources and more. All data we collect for our events and everything we distribute within those events is open and free.
Why we do this
We are inspired by the goals laid out by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his famous "Four Freedoms" speech of 1941. In that speech Roosevelt laid out a simple framework for human security:
The right to live a safe, healthy, stable, and fulfilling life, free from want and free from fear.
We're doing our part.
— Eric Rasmussen, MD, MDM, FACP
— Alex K. Hatoum, MHS
IHS is a Combat-Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business registered in the State of Washington.
Federal EIN: 46-2607266
Federal DUNS: 078-870-757
Washington UBI: 603-287-916
CAGE Code: 707Z4
ITAR License: M34071
ILO License: 10078724