Philippines to Enlarge Temporary Shelters for Typhoon Victims

Philippines bunkhouseThe Philippine government announced recently that they expect to complete temporary housing for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country last November, by March.

The Department of Public Works and Highways is overseeing the project. Department officials say they need an additional one or two months to be sure that the temporary bunkhouses being constructed meet international building standards. Some international relief organizations had expressed concerns that the temporary living spaces were too small to accommodate families. Builders are also addressing issues related to ventilation and security.

The buildings will now be built to accommodate 12 families each, instead of the 24 as originally designed. Partitions between rooms will be removed to create larger living spaces. The government has temporarily suspended construction of new bunkhouses until the ones that have already been built are retro-fitted to make them bigger.

The government is currently in the process of identifying potential sites for permanent housing, which could take over two years to complete. The Philippine government estimates that the price tag for the construction of temporary and permanent housing will be about $8 million over the next four years.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm killed over 6,100 people, destroyed over 500,000 homes, damaged an equal number, and displaced over four million people. Before construction of the temporary bunkhouses began, survivors had been living in tent cities and evacuation centers. About 87 construction firms from across the Philippines volunteered to construction the temporary shelters in 42 sites in the central Philippines area of Eastern Visayas.

Not your Typical Portable Shelter

sea kettle

If you are lost at sea on a typical life raft, your main problem would be a lack of drinkable water. While humans can survive weeks without food, we can only go days without viable drinking water. Kim Hoffman developed the Sea Kettle, a life raft that uses the sun’s heat to evaporate salty water and collect condensed run off in containers within the raft.

Hoffman describes the Sea Kettle as, “a life raft that combines safety, accessibility, and a desalination process. In an emergency at sea, you may not be able to obtain fresh drinking water before being forced to abandon ship. portable shelterPassengers could easily die of thirst or from extreme temperatures before they are rescued or reach land.”

The Sea Kettle provides insulation and shelter from the elements with its dome-like shape. Inside the raft are hand pumps that can be used to draw up sea water that will be turned into drinking water. The sea water is distilled and runs into four separate pockets inside the raft. Hoffman says that the process should provide enough drinking water for up to five passengers.

Hoffman entered her design into this year’s James Dyson Award competition. While the Sea
effectiveness does depend on there being a sufficient amount of heat to evaporate the collected sea water, it would be more ideal to be stuck at sea in this life raft than any other.