Research and Development of a Winterized Shelter Solution

The research started in January 2014 in the preparedness program for Mongolia and was finalized in 2016 to be a global solution for cold climate operations.

British Red Cross supported the Mongolian Red Cross Society in their disaster contingency planning, especially the scenario of an earthquake hitting the capital city of Ulaan Baatar with some 1.6mio inhabitants. In the worst-case scenario, 70%-80% of the cities housing stock is expected to collapse leaving some 100,000 people without shelter. In the Mongolian climate, where average temperatures are well below 0C for 9 months of the year, a well-insulated shelter is critical for survival. The traditional Gers still used by large parts of the Mongolian population are well adapted to the Mongolian climate and correspond to the cultural habits. However, after a first assessment and consultation with Mongolian Red Cross Society (MRCS) and representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in February 2013, the following reasons identify the ger  not suitable as a solution to be used in emergency response (see also ANNEX 3 exploratory mission field report) :

  • Difficult to stock due to limited  durability/shelf-life and large volume
  • difficult to stock and transport because of heavyweight from 300kg up to 500kg per unit and big volume
  • Too expensive, the minimum price per unit 1200€
  • The too-long set-up time of a minimum of 2 hours
  • Due to the long production time supply cannot be assured in a larger emergency.

A first-desk review of the items specified in the EIC as well as of cold climate shelters available on the market clearly identified a gap in the area of emergency response shelter solutions suitable for extremely cold climates.

The overall objective of this technical research and development project as defined in the PP is to review the shelter items defined in the IFRC EIC, namely the standard family tent and the winterization kit and, taking those specifications as a starting point, develop new solutions suitable to protect affected population from extreme cold climate conditions.

Although the research takes the Mongolian context and the concrete disaster preparedness needs specifying for Ulaan Baatar as the main reference, the final goal is to develop a Family shelter that can be used globally to provide protection against cold climate to populations affected by disasters.

At present, there is no adequate solution existing for humanitarian sheltering in a cold climate and this research aims to fill this gap. The specifications for the new solution shall be submitted for inclusion in the IFRC EIC as a winter shelter and winterization kit for cold climate.

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