Instead of housing refugees in army tents, one Swiss canton has decided to experiment with flat-pack IKEA houses. They cost around CHF 1,000 and can be put up in four hours. With a floor area of 17.5 m2, each one is designed to shelter five people. One of the biggest problems with tents is their lack of thermal insulation, a big problem during winter.
The IKEA houses use thermally insulated panels instead of tent fabric and include a photo voltaic system which provides energy for the shelter’s LED light or for charging a mobile phone. They have an expected life span of 3 years and can be dismantled and reused. The unit comes in the two boxes shown on the left of the photograph above.
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In October the Swiss canton of Aargau erected two of these IKEA houses and was pleased with the results, reported 20 Minutes.
The Swiss Federal authorities expect to need to find 8,000 more places for refugees between now and next spring and are ready to buy more. These provide better shelter than army tents especially in winter. Those in army tents in Bern over the past weeks have been complaining of cold despite heating. For this reason the tents will be taken down and their occupants re-housed.
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According to the website Better Shelter, in 2015, 2,600 units were shipped to Iraq & Iraqi Kurdistan, 1,000 units to Chad, 520 units to Greece, 302 units to Djibouti, 98 units to FYR of Macedonia, 50 units to Nepal and 208 units to Switzerland.