Humanitarian Engineering


Title: Flood and Renewable Energy Humanitarian Engineering Research: Lessons from Aggitis, Greece and Dhuskun, Nepal

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Georgeou, N., Emmanouloudis, D., Shrestha, S.,Thapa, B.S., and Gurung, S.

Journal: Geosciences 

Publisher: MDPI

ISSN: 2654-182

DOI: 10.3390/geosciences12020071



Climate and energy crises are increasing worldwide. Community-led humanitarian engineering interventions for localized sustainable development and disaster resilience could support populations at risk. This article presents findings from a study that investigated flood response and energy needs of two riparian communities in Greece and Nepal. The findings indicate that the co-development of a hybrid unit for hydropower generation and flood warning is most preferred. This prototype could find applications in different riparian areas as either a main or supplementary system.


Title: Humanitarian and
Developmental Research Engagement during COVID-19: A Remote Research Approach

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Georgeou, N., Emmanouloudis, D., Shrestha, S. and Thapa, B.S.

Journal: Social Science Protocols

DOI: 10.7565/ssp.v4.6487


Background: Floods and storms are the most common natural hazards. Communities in remote, riparian areas are the most vulnerable in such disasters, particularly when local populations lack reliable energy and early warning systems for hazard response. Our study will investigate energy and flood resilience issues in such communities and use remote methods to enable research continuity in intra and post-pandemic contexts.

Methods/Design: A two-round Delphi process will be used to interview 16 participants from Nepal and Greece to understand their priorities and preferred solutions for energy and flood resilience issues. In Round One we aim to understand the current capabilities and vulnerabilities of our focus communities in these areas. In Round Two, we seek feedback on potential options that are either market-available/evidence-informed solutions or co-developed conceptual systems. Remotely deployed semi-structured interviews are the principal method for both rounds. The Round Two structured comparative review also employs choice-based conjoint analysis and SCORE analysis.

Discussion: By collecting information from both professionals and non-experts, we aim to understand what options are perceived as reliable, realistic and appropriate for flood-prone communities. The remote research design enables continuity and community access to development-focused research and its outputs, and a flexible, cost-effective approach for researchers and partner organizations.

Title: Humanitarian
Engineering for Renewable Energy and Flood Early Warning in Remote Communities: A Scoping Review of Enabling Factors and Sustainability

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Emmanouloudis, D., Georgeou, N., Shrestha, S., and Katopodes, N.D., Wali, N.

Journal: Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems

DOI: 10.13044/j.sdewes.d9.0406



Small communities in remote, riparian sites often have limited resources, and experience energy insufficiencies and poor disaster resilience to intensifying weather hazards such as rainstorms and floods. Humanitarian engineering interventions for off-grid renewable energy generation and flood response at the local level have the potential to support community hazard management and socio-economic development. This scoping review examines communities in low and lower middle-income countries, and their use of renewable energy and flood warning systems. Its primary focus is vulnerable communities and how they can achieve hazard protection as part of sustainable development initiatives. The findings highlight that it is important to consider institutional, environmental, social/ethical, economic and technical indicators in developing a comprehensive understanding of the success or failure of a given system. The study concludes that an integrated renewable energy and flood warning system may provide an optimal, community-managed approach to address priority needs.

Title: Using Off-grid
Hydropower for Community-led Flood Resilience: An Integrated Systems Approach

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Emmanouloudis, D., Georgeou, N., Shrestha, S., and Katopodes, N.D.

Journal: International Journal of Sustainable Energy

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group

DOI: 10.1080/14786451.2021.1961773



The need for reliable energy is an ongoing challenge. Poor energy access, particularly in off-grid areas, constrains socioeconomic development and reduces resilience against natural hazards. With water-based disasters becoming more frequent and intense, it is important that holistic insights are applied to the assessment of community vulnerabilities and capabilities. Humanitarian engineering interventions that combine renewable energy and flood early warning at the local level offer comprehensive solutions, have long-term potential, and promote synergies between community and professional stakeholders. This study examines a community-centered approach to localised hydropower and flood response within a framework of sustainable development. Using a systems approach, we develop strategies that potentially address multiple needs, including the intersecting needs of key stakeholder groups.

Title:Humanitarian engineering at the sustainability-development nexus: mapping vulnerability and capability factors for communities at risk of water-based disasters

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Emmanouloudis, D., Georgeou, N., Shrestha, S., and Chalaris, M.

Journal: Sustainability Science

Publisher: Springer

ISSN: 2654-182

DOI: 10.1007/s11625-020-00890-



Access to resources that is equitable and sustainable provides a critical foundation for community harmony and development. Both natural and human-induced disasters present major risks to sustainable development trajectories and require strategic management within regional and local plans. Climate change and its impacts, including intensified storms, flash floods, and other water-based disasters (WD), also pose a serious and increasing threat. Small, remote communities prone to weather extremes are particularly vulnerable as they often lack effective early warning systems and experience energy insufficiency. Humanitarian engineering provides a transdisciplinary approach to these issues, supporting practical development resources such as renewable energy, which can also be adapted for disaster response. This study details an exploratory investigation of community vulnerability and capability mapping (VCM) that identifies communities with high WD risk and limited response capability which may benefit from risk reduction engagement and program co-development. By presenting criteria appropriate for VCM, we highlight the anthropocentric characteristics that could potentially be incorporated within community-led action as part of a comprehensive scheme that promotes sustainable development.


Title: Humanitarian engineering and vulnerable communities: hydropower applications in localised flood response and sustainable development

Authors: Schismenos, S., Stevens, G.J., Emmanouloudis, D., Georgeou, N., Shrestha, S., and Chalaris M.

Journal: International Journal of Sustainable Energy

Publisher: Taylor and Francis

DOI: 10.1080/14786451.2020.1779274

Pages: 941-950


Humanitarian engineering offers substantial benefits to interventions for socio-economic development and disaster risk resilience, particularly amongst vulnerable populations facing energy insufficiency and extreme weather events in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Localised hydropower and early-warning applications are reliable and can support such communities. This study presents important criteria and in-depth investigations for small-scale hydropower generators combined with flood-warning systems. According to our findings, 300 W of generated power can provide sufficient coverage for basic energy needs under both normal and extreme conditions. Outdoor warnings such as emergency lights and sirens could increase local response capabilities and save lives during extremes. Our project highlights the use of community-led hydropower as a vehicle for disaster resilience and sustainable development


Title: Renewable Energy Generated by the Impacts of Natural and Accidental Water‐Based Disasters

Authors: Schismenos, S., Chalaris, M., Emmanouloudis, D., Katopodes, N., and Stevens, G.

Conference Proceedings: SafeKozani 2018 ‐ 5th International Conference on Civil Protection & New Technology

ISSN: 2654-1823

Pages: 378-384


In 2018, Hurricane Florence in the Southeast US Coast and Typhoon Mangkhut (known as Typhoon Ompong in the Philippines) in South China Sea caused 53 and 134 fatalities respectively. Such events highlight that the magnitude of extreme water‐based disasters (WDs) cannot always be accurately predicted at a local level, largely due to their scale and unpredictable nature.

Most current weather forecasting models present generalized or large‐scale solutions based on limited and/or inaccurate input data. As a result, incorrect or missed alarms frequently lead to property losses and human casualties, especially in remote and low income areas. Rural communities in riparian and deltaic areas are often affected, as they are unable to manage WDs effectively. Furthermore, insufficient and unstable power resources in these regions also undermine disaster response capabilities, along with wider socio‐economic growth. 

Hydropower could provide solutions, as it offers the potential of energy production autonomy to such communities. However, can hydropower systems also provide warnings and “smart” evacuation routes during the WDs? This research introduces a pioneering plan for the use of potentially lost energy during the WDs to directly support emergency response. It investigates the conceptual model of a mini (or smaller‐scale) hydropower generator that includes early‐warning alarm systems appropriately designed to operate at the local level. In practice, this study focuses on units that support power needs to end‐users under both normal and extreme conditions. Positive outcomes could lead to the direct integration of sustainable economic development and disaster preparedness within these communities.

Title: Renewable Energy and Drones in Search and Rescue: Automated Network for Air-Sea Actions

Authors: Schismenos, S., Chalaris, M., Emmanouloudis, D., and Katopodes, N.

Conference Proceedings: SafeKozani 2018 ‐ 5th International Conference on Civil Protection & New Technology

ISSN: 2654-182

Pages: 378-384


Human migration has become a major concern for the experts in search and rescue. In 2018 alone, almost 80,000 migrants entered Europe by sea (Mediterranean Sea), while more than 2100 others died trying. These numbers highlight that the early detection of the migrant boats and sea survivors is essential in order to minimize casualties, especially during extreme weather events. For that reason, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are widely used in air‐sea rescue (ASR) missions. The UAVs surveil large areas in short periods of time; however, their power dependency limits their potential. The in situ recharge of the UAVs that surveil remote sea areas could be a possible solution to this problem. Tidal energy generators and wave energy converters (TWCs) combined with solar collectors could recharge them. Moreover, pre‐installed navigation systems could reduce the needs in recourses and overall costs. This research investigates these scenarios by introducing an automated network of multifunctional buoys and UAVs. Specifically, it presents the concept of TWC buoys capable of recharging one or more UAVs depending on the available energy generation. They are also equipped with mini solar collectors, meteorological sensors, warning systems and survival kits. The UAVs are equipped with thermal and color sensors in order to detect disturbances on the sea surface. By establishing this network in remote sea areas that include migrant sea routes, this study aims to provide the coast guard with a reliable, automated and self‐powered tool that could detect sea survivors or threats within sufficient given time.