Ikea's line of flat-pack refugee shelters are going into production, the Swedish furniture maker announced this week, after being tested among refugee families in Ethiopia, Iraq, and Lebanon. The lightweight "Better Shelter" was developed under a partnership between the Ikea Foundation and the ...UNHCR... Each unit takes about four hours to assemble and is designed to last for 3 years — far longer than conventional refugee shelters, which last about 6 months. — the Verge
As the Verge article notes, the announcement comes at a time when there are nearly 4 million people left without homes from the ongoing wars in Syria alone. Globally, there are 45.2 million people currently displaced by conflict and persecution according to a UNHCR report. And even that number...
A typical library can take years to build. But a new library kit, designed to travel to remote refugee camps or disaster zones, can come together in less than 20 minutes. The Ideas Box...fits the equivalent of a small-town library on two standard shipping pallets. It comes with books and e-readers, tablets, laptops, cameras and other creative tools... Since camps might not have internet access or power, it comes with its own. The boxes that hold all of the devices convert into tables and chairs. — FastCoExist
In the tents of Syrian refugees, stories abound and tragedies surround them daily... With the passage of time, a tent becomes a home and shelter, their only place in this limited world. When rain exhausts the roof of the tents and wind uproots them, the refugees agonize as much as they did over the destruction of their houses in al-Raqqa or Aleppo. “We may have grown accustomed to our tent. Some of us like it, and others still cannot stand it. Do you know how the world can become a tent?” — Al-Akhbar
Public space like the plaza in Al Fawwar is mostly unheard-of in Palestinian camps across the West Bank. Architectural upgrades raise fundamental questions about the Palestinian identity, implying permanence, which refugees here have opposed for generations. [...] Camps were conceived as temporary quarters. The absence of public space was then preserved over the years to fortify residents’ self-identification as refugees, displaced and stateless. — nytimes.com
As a result of the Syrian civil war, there are now 3 million Syrian refugees registered in neighboring countries — an exodus that began in March 2011 and shows no sign of abating, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. The record figure was 1 million refugees more than a year ago, and an additional 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives," it said. — Al Jazeera
As the Islamic State rampages through Syria and Iraq, thousands are being displaced to add to the growing refugee population created by a civil war against Bashar al-Assad. The Islamic State actively uses infrastructure, specifically hydoinfrastructure, as a militaristic tactic exacerbating...
Zaatari is becoming an informal city: a sudden, do-it-yourself metropolis of roughly 85,000 with the emergence of neighborhoods, gentrification, a growing economy and, under the circumstances, something approaching normalcy, though every refugee longs to return home. [...]
The change, accelerated by regional chaos and enterprising Syrians, illustrates a basic civilizing push toward urbanization that clearly happens even in desperate places. — nytimes.com
Many of the world’s displaced live in conditions striking for their wretchedness, but what is startling about Kilis is how little it resembles the refugee camp of our imagination. It is orderly, incongruously so. Residents scan a card with their fingerprints for entry [...]. Inside, it’s stark: 2,053 identical containers spread out in neat rows. No tents. None of the smells — rotting garbage, raw sewage — usually associated with human crush and lack of infrastructure. — nytimes.com
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