"The lack of easily available tents means we’re having to think of new ways of doing things and fast. We’ve already taken over a tent factory in Pakistan but we’re also looking for other solutions. In India we’ve just designed and built a shelter that ordinary people can put together from locally available materials," said Ashok Prasad, an Oxfam aid worker.
"These temporary shelters could house thousands and be the difference between life and death."
The temporary shelters have been five years in development. They have been tested in cold storage warehouses and in wind tunnel:
- They are low in cost – around $140 per unit
- Sleep a family of six people
- Use only locally available materials, – plastic sheeting, ordinary plastic piping, felt insulation and rope.
- The tunnel-shaped design maximizes internal living space, especially important for the winter when long periods will be spent inside the tent.
- Well-insulated. They retain heat better than tents with their felt lining and layers designed to trap air.
- They are easy and quick to construct and require no tools to put together
"What makes these shelters so good is that they are easy to assemble, low in cost, the materials can be bought locally and most of all they are warm," added Prasad. "We’ve already shared these designs with local people, other aid agencies and local officials and the response has been universally positive. The shelter challenge is massive and we’re going to have to continue to innovate to overcome all the challenges."