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Using Shipping Containers as Emergency Shelters

One recent idea after natural disasters or other disruptions in housing availability is the use of shipping containers for emergency shelters. In particular, they have been used with success in Haiti, where many people still do not have permanent structures to call home.

Shipping Container Used as Emergency Shelter

So far, shipping containers have proven to be exceptionally valuable in areas of the Caribbean that are prone to hurricanes. Coincidentally, there just happened to be a surplus of the containers sitting in ports nearby, when the disaster occurred. It is thought that these containers can also be used in areas that have a lot of seismic activity, since they are constructed in a way that unites the whole box as one piece.

Shipping containers consistently meet structural codes in many areas of the world, including the United States. Simply making cuts for doors and windows makes them livable and opens them up to the outside air somewhat.

The current trend of enormous storms capable of displacing many people has developed the need for more easily-acquired emergency shelters, and shipping containers are a natural fit for this need. People can get back onto their land, even if they no longer have a building there that is habitable, if they use shipping containers for housing. These containers would allow many people to reclaim their land.

Container Condos for Emergency Housing

Contain Yourselves ...

When communities can rebuild together, there is a stronger bond among the people who lived there, and who will live there again. They can work on a home instead of living in a tent, and work together with their neighbors at rebuilding their area. Many areas where these containers are being tested have dismally poor housing even before disasters strike.

Using shipping containers for emergency shelters helps the people and the land in two ways. It allows for adequate, immediate housing, and it solves the problem of how to recycle the containers. It's usually cheaper for companies to order new merchandise in new containers rather than paying to send the empty ones back to the manufacturer.

Haiti Emergency Container Housing

With enough coordination, groups like FEMA and similar emergency response agencies in other countries can coordinate the supply of shipping containers, so that they will be available when needed.
Containers that were originally used for shipping actually lend themselves well to easier and more economical construction in a disaster-torn area.

The components you need in houses can be added to containers before they are shipped out. Then the container is ready to be transported to the area of need, and it's ready to be used as housing, without expensive on-site work. Most containers are utilized in similar ways as they are modified, and this construction process is very economical.

Recycling Container ...

Shipping containers fit the current needs for construction materials that are efficient and not costly. They can be modeled to be energy-efficient, and the containers themselves become a renewable resource, instead of a blight on the landscape.

These containers are recyclable, reusable and they cut down on the other materials needed for emergency shelter construction. They create less waste during modification, and they are durable once they are set up. They were made for heavy duty shipping, and this strength is an asset when they are used as shelters.


Exteranl Links

Shipping Containers and Emergency Shelters PDF


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