Disaster Relief in the Form of Portable Shelters?

Over the past few years, the world has seen some terrible natural disasters ravage countries like Haiti and Chile and states like Louisiana. The recovery from Hurricane Katrina is still underway and may not be totally complete for another few years and that is in an area supported by American wealth. Impoverished countries like Haiti (which was just hit with a gigantic earthquake) do not have the resources to recover quickly and/or find semi-permanent shelter areas for people. Where are displaced citizens of these areas supposed to go while recovery is ongoing and there are no shelters available?

One option being researched and developed is the usage of portable storage units being converted into appropriate shelter for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. As of mid-July, the number of still-homeless Haitians was still at a staggering 1.5 million people, so finding temporary means of shelter is a major concern to the country. In January, a team of researchers and developers began looking into the use of shipping containers as a temporary solution for the homeless. According to the aforementioned article, the idea came out of the housing crisis that was facing the Caribbean and United States in the months leading up to the Haitian earthquake.

Now shipping containers may not necessarily be considered portable storage units or shelters, but those are being used as well. According to this article, portable shelters are being set up in Haiti and are the primary source of housing in the country right now:

“One approach to the crisis is to set up what are called transitional shelters: structures composed of plywood walls and steel frames, durable enough to stand up to inclement weather and strong winds but not meant to provide long-term housing. Each unit, which can house a family of five, can last about three years and costs an average of $1,000 to build.”

This just goes to show you that portable garages, shelters and other such units aren’t only important for storing extra equipment you have in your garage or home; they can also be used in extreme times of crisis.