South Australian startup Humanihut has developed an all-in-one emergency shelter for refugees and disaster victims that can be set up in only five minutes. Unlike some temporary shelters, the Humanihut provides more than a roof over refugees’ heads and walls for protect them from the elements — showers, toilets, electricity, and laundry facilities are also integrated into the system. A standard shipping container can hold 16 of the shelters, allowing them to be easily transported and deployed. A “village” of the huts can be built in a matter of hours.
Each hut is 7.3 meters long and 2.4 meters high, including solar panels on the roof and wiring for 110V outlets throughout. Heating and water purification equipment are built into the hut, and the units include a built in table, bench, and sink. The steel walls and roof of each unit contains insulated panels to help keep the temperature comfortable in hot or cold weather. The hope is that access to these facilities will help cut down on the rates of water-borne diseases like malaria that kill thousands of refugees per year.
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The shelters aren’t just portable and quick to set up, they’re also incredibly durable. Each unit is expected to last for up to 20 years, a vast improvement over the tent shelters that many refugees find themselves living in. This both helps provide a more comfortable and stable living situation for the refugees or disaster victims, and helps cut down on costs for aid organizations. An investment in the Humanihut is expected to break even after about 3.5 years, and could potentially save millions of dollars thereafter. In a camp with 50,000 people, the huts could cut costs by $70 million per year.