The Ikea-Backed Company Making Flat-Pack Refugee Shelters Can’t Keep Up With Demand
Friday, October 2, 2015
Less than six months after its first units shipped to Iraq and Ethiopia, a Swedish company producing modular, flat-packed refugee shelters is struggling to keep up with demand. And many of those orders are now coming from Europe.
Ikea-backed Better Shelter has shipped more than 500 shelters to transit camps in Greece. Another 96 have gone to Macedonia, near its border with Serbia.
The company receives daily requests from aid organizations wishing to purchase the 188-square foot shelters, which house up to five people and start at $1,150. The structures promise “a more dignified home for displaced people and a more cost-effective solution for humanitarian organizations, the company says.
Each shelter takes between four and eight hours to assemble, and includes solar panels that can power LED lights or charge mobile phones. They are built to last for three years. Components are manufactured in northern Europe and China, and flat-packed in Gdansk, Poland.
With a maximum production capacity of 2,500 units per month, the current demand far outstrips supply.