Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shelter Walkthrough Perspective

"...more than 70 percent of camps in Haiti, home to an estimated 1.3 million earthquake victims, lack proper international management nearly nine months after the disaster, leaving them at increased risk of sexual and gang violence, hunger and forced eviction."
"At the end of June, Macy's put in an order for 20,000 products. The company says it hopes to break even or make a small profit from selling the items on its website and at 25 stores across the country."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roof and Door Assembly

 The last two days have been spent assembling the door and roof panels. Cutting the panels with a CNC router saved us much time and effort, and we were very excited to see the results. Today we are working on assembling wall panels, windows, and vents.  We have been provided with excellent staff and equipment at our partner manufacturer NW Packaging's facility and we are greatly appreciative of it. More pictures are to come as we continue our assembly process.

 As eviction deadlines are past due in many shelter camps in Port-au-Prince we are steadily working to respond as quickly as possible.

"Oxfam calls for shift in international trade policies to help Haiti rebuild itself"
 The Jan 12th earthquake caused a disruption in agricultural production in rural areas, and Haiti's government has developed an agricultural plan backed by Oxfam that has yet to receive needed funds from international communities. "'Currently, U.S. rice subsidies and in-kind food aid undercut Haitian farmers at the same time as the U.S. government is investing in Haitian agricultural development. The international community must abandon these conflicting trade and aid policies in order to support the growth of Haiti's fragile rural economy' said Philippe Mathieu, [Oxfam Country Director in Haiti]" See article: Agriculture Must Be a Priority for Haiti Reconstruction Efforts by PRNewswire

 Meanwhile in Pakistan UNHCR and United Arab Emirates Red Crescent have launched a joint project to deliver basic domestic items such as "tents, plastic sheets blankets, sleeping mats, quilts, kitchen stes, jerry cans, plastic buckets, mosquito nets, soap and plastic rolls".
See article: by Business Recorder

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Haiti Demo Assembly

This weekend Haiti's capital was hit with a powerful storm that destroyed thousands of tents, many of which have already been weathered over the last 8 months since the earthquake.
See article: Storm Shreds Aging Tents in Haiti Earthquake Camps by Jonathan M. Katz (AP)

Meanwhile back in Pomona, we've spent hours of careful measuring, cutting, and drilling, and more trips to hardware stores than I can keep track of. Last night four people lifted the third floor onto the frame. Now we can rest at ease this weekend knowing that the frame is tight and secure. What a sense of accomplishment! With 5 days left to ship out the demo to Haiti we still have to assemble the roof and walls, windows and door, and other finishing details. Here is a picture of what it looks like so far.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Relief, Recovery, and Reconstruction

Building Homes a Struggle in Haiti -Kansas City Star Sunday, Sept 19th
"Eight months after the quake...only 13,073 temporary shelters have been built throughout Haiti out of a goal of 135,000 by the end of next August, according to the shelter cluster. Haiti still has no housing minister, policy or approved strategy."Strategies to rehouse involve "putting transitional shelters on demolished lots and helping people return home by providing them with a financial-assistance package to repair their quake-damaged homes.""A jury will soon choose the best five models, which will be a living showcase in a planned community on government-owned land in Port-au-Prince. Quake victims will live in them, and the idea is to replicate the housing designs throughout Haiti"
Read more

Check out these links:

IASC Haiti Shelter Cluster- active working group for shelter in Haiti
This site contains resources for network building, in-country conditions, upcomings, and technical information.

Shelter Centre - "the NGO supporting the humanitarian community in post-conflict and disaster shelter and housing"
Here you can find emergency shelter designs and more information about world shelter needs.


Rubble is a major obstacle that can prevent or slow down reconstruction. By using simple manual rock crushing techniques, rubble turned into many useful building materials.

"It is still in question whether or not debris can be used for construction."
-From IASC Shelter Cluster Meeting Minutes, Aug 31

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bringing Shelter to Haiti

Welcome to our first blog post!

First and foremost--we invite anyone to join us in our effort to design and provide the best transitional shelter solutions for all people in desperate need of housing. The solution to this global issue is not one size fits all but rather a multitude of designs to suit a wide range of social, financial, and environmental conditions. How will it come about? The answer is collaborative innovation, and we are catalyzing to make it happen.

In a post-disaster event the critical elements of rebuilding community involve more than just a good shelter but also include organized neighborhood and city planning, creative financial tools and mechanisms for restoring a functional economy, as well as appropriate social services and facilities that are vital for a community to thrive. So we invite experts from all fields to take part in the process of addressing each of these needs as a whole. Our component is one small piece in the bigger picture of creating the conditions people need to serve themselves.

Here at our manufacturing facility in Pomona, CA we are very excited to announce that production has begun this week for our pilot shelter that will be shipped to Port-au-Prince, Haiti at the end of the month. There we will present it to the requesting aid agencies and local organizations who are gearing up for the end of the rainy season to commence large scale reconstruction projects. 

The Uber Shelter has several key features that make it the first transitional shelter of its kind, including elevated floor for heavy rain, adaptable footprint for unique plot sizes, multi-story capability for increased living space, and collapsibility for shipping and relocating. 
Our team consists of a network of experts who are working together by volition with the shared vision of providing adequate shelter for all people in need and for disaster preparedness in all communities worldwide. 

We created this blog with the intent of sharing our ideas with everyone so please feel free to initiate a dialog with us to make this as interactive as possible.

Thanks to everyone involved for all your support!

-Armand Mulin & Rafael Smith