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One round vs. double round shelter distribution

In a traditional shelter supply chain, the idea is to use one type of tent for all emergencies. A tent that can last at least a year in any climate (hot and cold, wet and dry). This of course results in expensive fabrication and logistics. In fact, it’s a compromise that is anything but ideal.

The theory

  • Disaster strikes anywhere in the world.
  • Aid Agencies organise an intervention, assessment teams leave within 24-72 hours.
  • Assessment is completed as requirements and beneficiary numbers are estimated.
  • Stock tents are mobilised and delivered to the disaster area.
  • Tents are distributed and implemented.
  • Beneficiaries can use tents for at least a year.

The reality

  • Disaster strikes, usually in warm to hot climates.
  • Aid Agencies organise an intervention, assessment teams leave within 24-72 hours.
  • Assessment happens during complete chaos and is often incorrect.
  • Stock tents are mobilised and delivered based on a faulty assessment of the situation.
  • Distribution and implementation is complex because infrastructure is often damaged; logistics are difficult and often influenced by the political situation.
  • Weeks later, a second more detailed and precise assessment is made.
  • The second assessment teaches us that initial requirements have changed or were wrong. As such, the deployed tents are not ideal.
  • The number of beneficiaries is not as initially estimated and in the event of natural disasters often over-estimated.
  • After a second assessment, long-term shelter solutions are evaluated.

The conclusion

  • It takes time to make the right long-term decisions.
  • The best way to assist beneficiaries during the initial phase of the emergency is with fast, efficient and budget-friendly shelter solutions.
  • Tents must be light to handle, be easy to transport and require minimal effort to set up.
  • The emergency tent is a temporary fix; the long-term answer is an adapted shelter or housing solution.
  • Depending on the context of the emergency, the right shelter solution is an adapted tent designed for the area. Later, locally purchased building materials and tools are needed to construct housing or reconstruct existing, damaged housing depending on local rules and urbanisation requirements.

The RED Tent is a perfect fit in this double distribution concept, offering plenty of advantages:

  • cost-effective
  • durable
  • lightweight
  • easy to handle and transport
  • simple and fast production
  • easy to set up
  • temperature controlled (high ventilation, reflective, UV resistant fabric)
  • improved privacy (fabric is not translucent)
  • fabric is not prone to rotting
  • unlimited shelf life
  • good wind resistance
  • smaller ecological footprint compared to other family tents
  • fabric can be disinfected


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