16 Humanihut shelters can fit into a single shipping container, and each one can be set up in about 5 minutes, allowing for rapid and dignified relief for refugees.
With tens of millions of refugees around the world being displaced by conflicts, persecution, and natural disasters, the need for robust and scalable emergency housing solutions is very real, and one startup believes it has the answer, in the form of foldable units that provide near-instant shelter and housing.
Humanihut, a South Australian startup, developed its all-in-one emergency shelter solution over the course of about three years, and instead of just merely providing walls and a roof for refugees and disaster victims, the system also includes other basic necessities, such as toilets and showers, electricity, and laundry facilities. 16 of the Humanihut shelters fit into a standard shipping container, which allows them to be easily transported and deployed using existing shipping infrastructure, and then erected in just minutes each, with an entire 'village' able to be built in just a few hours.
"It is a cost-effective, innovative solution that has the potential to save international aid agencies millions of dollars. By providing clean water and shelter, the Humanihut helps prevent health problems such as malaria and water-borne diseases that kill thousands of refugees every year." - Neale Sutton, Humanihut
Each Humanihut, which measures 7.3 meters long by 2.4 meters high, includes solar panels on the roof, wiring for 110V outlets, tables, benches, sink, water purification, and heat, and can be collapsed down to 30 cm high to fit into the shipping container. This allows for the units to be erected and deconstructed quickly, with a small team of people and a forklift able to build one in about 5 minutes, and an entire system of 16 shelters and one "Ablutionhut" (hygiene facility) can be constructed in about 1.5 hours, according to the company. Each unit can sleep up to 6 people, and offer security, privacy, and convenience for both the short- and long-term.
Insulated panels are integrated into the steel walls and roofs of the units, which enable the residents to maintain a comfortable living temperature in both hot and cold climates, and the robust construction of the units is expected to allow them to last for up to 20 years, which is much longer than the standard tent shelters that many refugees receive. In addition to the portability and ease of deployment, this longevity could also benefit aid organizations in the form of reduced costs, as camp managers could avoid the need to frequently replace worn-out shelters. According to Sutton, when compared with tent shelters, the Humanihut system offers a break-even point at about 3.5 years, and by the fifth year, could save about $70 million per year (for a camp of 50,000 people).
For its innovative emergency shelter system design, Humanihut has been included in the latest Disrupt 100 list, which recognizes those startups and companies that have a high potential to influence, change, or create new global markets.
Find out more about Humanihut's shelter system, or its sister product, a foldable personal or commercial storage container, at the company website.