Shelter Research Unit Activities


Read the latest news about the “Shellter Research Unit” on their official blog ifrc-sru.org.


It is often people affected by disaster situations who are the first to set up emergency measures. These people often face extreme situations which threaten their health and safety. They need food, water, clothes, and blankets. For people who have lost their homes or cannot remain due to violence, floods, or other disasters, emergency shelter is needed.


This is why humanitarian organisations are seeking the best ways to assist those affected. Each disaster is different and therefore the needs and solutions differ from one situation to another. While humanitarian organisations have developed effective technical assistance in the past, they still face many difficulties in finding appropriate solutions to the situations they encounter.


What type of shelter can we offer? How can we best help victims rebuild? What skills and materials are available on the disaster site? We can answer these questions by learning from past disasters, collecting and analysing different shelter solutions in different contexts, and introducing new technologies and new materials to existing shelters.


The mission of the SRU is to expand and improve the range of emergency shelters by identifying available resources and existing practices and, from there, develop innovative solutions in helping the homeless. The interests and knowledge of teaching centers and the private sector are used to develop flexible and accurate shelter solutions based on field experience but developed outside emergencies.

SRU activities are divided into three stages :

« Mapping » : we document and analyse how shelters are being built. By building a database of institutional performance on the manufacturing of shelters, we can improve our future interventions.


Innovation : “mapping” leads to research and development of innovative solutions for emergency shelters. The SRU collaborates with universities, private sector research and development services.


Interaction : we work together with professionals, teachers, researchers and private sector companies to develop shelter research. We therefore enable better knowledge which we can then share with other organisations active in the field of providing shelter.



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