Can Shipping Containers Be Used to Provide Emergency Shelters in Haiti?
In viewing all of the news about the recent Haiti hurricane tragedy, my mind began to wonder about what could be done to help the survivors of last weeks 7.0 earthquake the devastated Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities. With the US Navy delivering food and supplies, as well as other countries doing their best to supply for the needy, I could find some peace that they were being taken care of in their time of need. Seeing the flattened homes and buildings however, I had to wonder what was being done about shelter for the Haiti earthquake refugees.
With no means of shelter except for tied together sheets on poles, how would the people of Haiti Survive the heat and elements? If we were to use the methods from the New Orleans Floods, we would be busing the refugees to other parts of the country. The problem is Port-au-Prince was probably the most desirable place to live in Haiti. Other cities and locations will not be able to accommodate any refugees from the earthquake.
So what are the other options to house the Haitian earthquake refugees? New Orleans also handed out RV trailers to anyone who wanted who wanted to stay in the city and rebuild their homes. This short term shelter system had its own myriad of issues from toxicity from Formaldehyde in the trailers to people needing to use them for far longer periods than expected.
While the people of Haiti would probably be ecstatic to receive the old FEMA trailers, I don’t think passing on our failures to suffering people is a good idea. There is however, another option that would solve problems for both us, and the people of Haiti… shipping containers.
America has the issue of a glut of containers sitting in our ports because we input far more goods than we export. Shipping back empty containers is too costly, so they just sit. Due to the ever increasing number of these shipping containers, builders and architects began to look at them as materials to be recycled into homes. The most simple recycling project for these shipping containers is emergency shelter. But building a shelter from container is not easy. Perhaps, it could be as hard as making an actual house. a house made out of a cargo container has its own unique set of construction requirements. The process is quite different from traditional house construction. Both accuracy and creativity are needed in order to create possible results.
We have too many shipping containers on your hands. Haiti needs shelter for its people immediately. As of right now, we are sending shipping containers full of food and goods. I can only hope the containers themselves are being utilized as well. I can only hope that the powers that be sees the simple solution that will provide temporary housing that can be converted to other building materials in years to come.
It’s not as ugly and uncomfortable as it sounds. Shipping containers have been used as housing for the better part of the last decade. Shipping containers have been as materials to help build homes. They have been used as a whole in making dorm room complexes where containers are stacked Lego-style to create a large series of attractive looking one room apartments.
Storage containers have been used throughout the Caribbean as temporary shelters after hurricanes. They are used for military shelters, and office spaces. It would be very wise indeed to convert the 10X40 foot containers into container cities for temporary shelters for the people of Haiti. I only home someone who has the money and the means makes the connection.