This ‘Emergency Floor’ Is Going to Make Life Easier for Millions of Refugees

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Humanitarian innovation is something of a hot topic, in philanthropic circles. NGOs, governments, and other private and public institutions are trying to find new solutions to the growing number of emergencies taking place in our troubled world: in the last 10 years, the number of people affected by humanitarian crisis has almost doubled.

Large corporations, like IKEA, Deloitte and Ericsson are often working side by side with State actors to improve the refugees’ conditions. But in this fast changing landscape, there’s also room for smaller projects, that try to address specific needs, like the Emergency Floor.

The brainchild of two graduates of Houston’s Rice University School of Architecture, Scott Austin Key and Sam Brisendine, the Emergency Floor re-purposes shipping pallets, one of the most common materials to be found in temporary camps for refugees, to solve one aspect often overlooked by other shelter solutions: how to ensure people do not have to sleep directly on the ground, exposed not only to the coldness of the soil (in harsh climates), but also to parasitic infections and other diseases that can easily spread if there’s no insulation.

Last year, 38 million refugees fleeing conflict and natural disasters were forced from their homes and hosted in temporary camps where tent-like shelters provide little to no barrier between their families and the soil below.

“No one should have to sleep in the dirt. We believe in the power of design to innovate, we believe we should be actively working to make the world a better place,” Key says.

Source: Forbes (link opens in a new window)