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Oxfam Innovates to Tackle Shelter Crisis in Pakistan?s Earthquake Zone

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US Newswire Boston Wire Circuit: International relief organization Oxfam is taking innovative measures to fill the gaps in shelter for the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the recent South Asian earthquake.

The immediate need for thermal tents, combined with the massive logistical challenges of getting aid to the most remote areas, is putting thousands of victims of the quake in danger.

"The lack of easily available tents means we have to think of new ways of doing things fast," said Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. "Despite formidable challenges getting supplies in and around the quake zone, we’re integrating the production and distribution of tents that will protect people from the cold."

"We've already purchased a production line at a tent factory in Pakistan and we're looking for additional solutions," added Ashok Prasad, an Oxfam aid worker in the region. "In India, we've just designed and built a shelter that people can put together themselves from locally available materials. These temporary shelters could house thousands -- and be the difference between life and death," Prasad said.

The tents have been in development for the past five years, and have been tested weather endurance in cold storage warehouses and in wind tunnels. Following are further details about their construction:

  • Each tent costs approximately $140 per unit.
  • Each unit sleeps a family of six.
  • The tents are constructed using locally available materials, - plastic sheeting, ordinary plastic piping, felt insulation, rope.
  • Their design maximizes internal living space, which is especially important for the winter and long periods spent inside the tent.
  • Well insulated: the tents retain heat with layers designed to trap air.
  • They are easily constructed and require no tools to put together.
  • Oxfam will produce and distribute 20,000 tents from a factory in Lahore, Pakistan.

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