Refugee shelter
Refugee shelters include the most basic kind of structure created in the aftermath of a conflict or natural disaster
Natural disaster
A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard . It leads to financial, environmental or human losses...

 as a temporary residence for victims who have lost or abandoned their homes. There is a continuum ranging from the most temporary tent accommodation through transitional shelter
Transitional shelter
Transitional shelter is any of a range of shelter options that help a person or population displaced by conflict or natural disaster until they return to permanent accommodation....

 to rebuilding houses and settlements. Land tenure
Land tenure
Land tenure is the name given, particularly in common law systems, to the legal regime in which land is owned by an individual, who is said to "hold" the land . The sovereign monarch, known as The Crown, held land in its own right. All private owners are either its tenants or sub-tenants...

 issues often play a large role in the planning and categorisation of settlements as temporary, though many settlements subsist for years.

The materials and technology used to create these shelters have advanced as a result of worldwide news coverage of natural disasters in the new millennium. Simple tent structures, grouped together to form a "tent city
Tent City
A tent city is a temporary housing facility made using tents. Informal tent cities may be set up without authorization by homeless people or protesters. As well, state governments or military organizations set up tent cities to house refugees, evacuees, or soldiers...

", are commonly made of canvas military issue tents which are criticised for being heavy, bulky, uninsulated, expensive, and for rotting in under a year.

There are scores of innovative approaches to constructing temporary shelters, but few make it to the field. Architect Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban
Shigeru Ban is an accomplished Japanese and international architect, most famous for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard paper tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims...

 has designed temporary (and permanent) structures with paper tubes as the underlying structure, used after the Kobe earthquake . Cal-Earth Institute has also developed "superadobe" which makes use of sandbag
A sandbag is a sack made of hessian/burlap, polypropylene or other materials that is filled with sand or soil and used for such purposes as flood control, military fortification, shielding glass windows in war zones and ballast....

s and barbed wire
Barbed wire
Barbed wire, also known as barb wire , is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand. It is used to construct inexpensive fences and is used atop walls surrounding secured property...

 to form an emergency shelter for disaster relief.

The main difficulty with refugee shelters is transporting the materials to areas with damaged infrastructure, so the overall cost of deploying a shelter is largely proportional to its weight.

Disaster responses are increasingly focusing on supporting victims to build their own shelters as this stimulates the local economy, maintains dignity, gives victims something other than their grief to focus on, and encourages a sense of ownership of the shelter and of the materials.

External links

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