Successful assembly of Better Shelter units in Europe

BETTER SHELTER UNITS HOST REFUGEE FAMILIES DURING TRANSIT IN GREECE AND THE FYR OF MACEDONIA

520 Better Shelter units have been delivered to UNHCR in Greece during the month of September. The assembly program operated by the UNHCR in Karatepe transit camp, Mytilini (Lesvos), has commenced with support by Better Shelter. 220 shelters will be assembled in Mytilini before October 15th.

Allegedly between 500-1000 refugees arrive in Mytilini every day and a majority of these are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the UNHCR. Refugees who register at Karatepe transit camp tend to stay for a couple of days, as the ferries leaving the island for Athens are fully booked days in advance. Unconfirmed data indicates a camp population of between 1000 and 2000 persons, of which a majority represents refugees from Syria. Refugees of other nationalities are referred to Moria transit camp.

John Tzanos, Head of Service at Better Shelter says: “Being able to support the UNHCR during the training and supervision of shelter assembly in Mytilini is important, and the experience has been impressive. We have witnessed refugee families move into shelters constructed earlier the same day for some well-deserved rest. This mission has once again confirmed the shelter’s appropriateness in emergency relief operations”.

On September 23rd, Better Shelter assembly training commenced in a transit camp in the Greek town of Idomeni, near the border to the FYR of Macedonia. An estimated average of 6000 persons arrive there every day, and are requested to wait before crossing the border into the FYR of Macedonia. An initial 5 Better Shelter units were installed during a training program during the previous week, and will provide temporary residents with some calm and privacy during their journey.
UNHCR and the Red Cross have recently erected 96 Better Shelters in the FYR of Macedonia. The shelters form transit areas in Gevgelija in the south, near the Greek border, and in Tabanovce in the north, where the country borders to Serbia. A number of these shelters host first aid clinics, while others have been equipped especially for children, with the support from UNICEF.
Better Shelter has experienced a large increase in inquiries from Europe during the last month.

“We’d like to see that refugees are given access to permanent homes as soon as possible after arriving in Europe. But as the current situation leads to many having to stay in transit camps during several halts of their distressful journey, we are pleased to be able to provide families with a moment of calm and safety inside a Better Shelter” says Johan Karlsson, Head of Business Development at Better Shelter.

For further information, please contact: Märta Terne, Head of Marketing and Communication, Better Shelter: marta.terne@bettershelter.org

About Better Shelter
Better Shelter develops innovative housing solutions with a mission to improve the lives of persons displaced by con- flicts and natural disasters. The Better Shelter is a weatherproof temporary shelter that offers a more dignified home for displaced families as well as a cost-effective solution for humanitarian organisations. Better Shelter is a Swedish social enterprise aiming to achieve social change at scale in a financially self-sustainable way. Every dollar generated in profit is reinvested within the company or distributed to Better Shelter’s philanthropic owner, the non-profit Hous- ing for All Foundation. Better Shelters are currently hosting families and health care facilities in Ethiopia, Greece, Iraq, Macedonia and Nepal. In 2015, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) signed a frame agreement of 30,000 shelters for its operations worldwide. Better Shelter is the result of a partnership between the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR and Better Shelter. For more information, please visit www.bettershelter.org.

02 Oct, 2015 Published by