TBN XX (Draft v2.1 - 15/04/2012)
OXFAM Technical Brief Emergency Shelter _ Principles & Practices
Seven Key Principles of Emergency Shelter
The first several weeks after a disaster or conflictare the most critical in addressing emergency shelterneeds. After this, beneficiary priorities tend to shifttowards more durable shelter solutions. To help ensuremaximum impact of relief operations,
emergencyshelter distributions should take place withinthe first 45 days of the response
Sphere shelter and settlement standardsmust be used
as a guide for all emergency shelterdistributions. Whenever possible, the minimumguidance of 3.5 m3 of covered space per person shouldbe adhered to. To achieve this, two pieces of 6m by4m sheets should be distributed to each family of 4 ormore persons (see illustration below)3.
All reinforced plastic sheeting
used foremergency shelter
must adhere to Oxfamspecifications,
which have been widely promoted andaccepted by the international humanitarian community.4.
The two non negotiable items to be included inemergency shelter kits should be
two (2) pieces of reinforced plastic sheeting or tarpaulins, andsufficient rope or other fasteners
. In arid lands orwhere deforestation might take place, distributionsshould also consider the addition of bamboo or timberpoles.5.
Attempting to reach higher numbers of beneficiariesby distributing one sheet of plastic per family ratherthan two should be avoided.
Follow-up distributionsoften occur too late to have the desired impact
on effectively addressing emergency shelter needs.6.
People displaced by disasters and conflicts areresourceful and competent, and are often capable of erecting an adequate emergency shelter withouttechnical support.
Avoid efforts to design new orimproved emergency shelters
using plasticsheeting or tarpaulins and bamboo, plastic or timberpoles. If assessments indicate that there is need forself supporting emergency shelters, provide tents.7.
Shelter needs and use change over time. Whileplastic sheeting or tents may not be the most desirableoption,
’s advocacy and coordination with
is often the most effective means of supportingmore durable shelter solutions.
Emergency shelter materials were included in the firstOxfam humanitarian programme in 1942, when blanketswere included in the food assistance packages shipped to
Greece during a naval blockade. Since then, Oxfam’s
emergency response experiences have shown us that therapid distribution of
can help people meettheir immediate need for dignity, privacy and protectionfrom the elements.Typical
plastic sheeting or tarpaulins (minimum 2 perfamily);
twisted or braided rope from natural or syntheticfibres;
timber, bamboo, aluminium or brush poles foremergency dwelling superstructure;
single family tents made of cotton or syntheticmaterials;
blankets, ground mats and/or mattresses;
locally procured, sustainably harvested materialssuch as bamboo or palm frond mats;
shading materials made of cotton, synthetic ornatural fibres woven into mesh or sheets;
manufactured roofing sheets made from corrugatedgalvanized iron (CGI), PVC, or bitumen coatedfibres;
fastening materials such as nails, roofing bolts orscrews, or cable ties;
hand tools such as hammers, saws, pliers, metalcutters, measuring tapes; shovels, etc.;
solar lamps; stoves (for cooking/heating); cookingpots and house wares. As their primary use is for vector control measures,Oxfam does NOT consider the following items as shelterNFIs:×
insecticide treated plastic sheeting;×
bed nets.If assessments indicate high risks and unmet needs for
the need for these items, Oxfam’s Public Health
Promotion team will take the lead on addressing theseconcerns.
Emergency Shelter Upgrades
In situations of prolonged displacements, it may benecessary to provide additional materials or technicalassistance to help people upgrade or improve theiremergency shelters. Before initiating upgradingactivities, follow-up assessments should be done withthe views of beneficiaries, landowners, localauthorities, camp management, and the sheltercluster taken into consideration.While targeting vulnerable people for shelterupgrading activities makes sense from a humanitarianprogramming perspective, this can create conflict incommunities and lead to resentments towards thosewho receive assistance. Local partners may be bestplaced to advise on how these risks can be mitigated.