UN orders 10,000 Ikea flat pack refugee shelters

The Ikea Foundation has announced that it will provide 10,000 flat pack "Better Shelter" units for refugees. 

Better Shelters (pictured) take four to eight hours to be assembled and have a three-year lifespan.

The 188 square foot, 1.75m high structures can accommodate up to five people and can be built without the need for tools. 

The shelters have custom-designed plastic foam for thermal insulation and a solar panel that can generate energy for an interior lamp and mobile phone.

They aim to replace the use of tents in refugee camps and are designed to be secure, with a lockable door and openable windows. 

Better Shelters cost around $1,150 each, twice a standard refugee tent, but Ikea says it is working to lower the price. 

Johan Karlsson, head of business development at Better Shelter, told Mashable: "The solution is still more cost effective considering its longevity. We’re working hard to get it below $1,000, and we see good potential to achieve this within the next two years." 

The lifespan of a typical refugee tent is around six months.

The shelter prototype has been tested and improved by 40 refugee families in Iraq and Ethiopia. 

Images: Better Shelter

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