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Plug In Engineering
Highr Ris Analysis Cox's Bazar Refugee Camp

Humanitarian Aid  - Shelter Concepts / 05 
Bangladesh CXB Macro Planning
RFR Reusable and Fire Resistant Shelter Kits

Background: The Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh have been facing major challenges in recent years – fires, floods, cyclone, etc. in the high densely populated camps. The shelters are made of a combination of inflammable materials. Constructed of bamboo and tarpaulin, which makes them very prone to fires. In January 2022, a fire broke out in the Camp 9, 8E & 8W areas, leaving over 90,000 refugees homeless. Another fire broke out in Camp 11 on 5th March 2023.

From a macro settlement planning (MSP) perspective, fire safety is an important element to improve, but not the only factor. As a micro element, 'Shelter' also impacts on the whole macro level due to increasing density covered by weak and unsafe shelters, the disposal and reuse of building materials, and the impacts on waste management and the environment. Reusable systems of stilted shelters are recommended and proposed by MSP, has they will cause only minimal impact on the landscape, in addition the natural contour line can be kept and maintained. Reusable and easily removable materials should be used, making this construction types environmentally friendly and sustainable. Summary of specifications for the construction of safe and sustainable shelters for the Rohingya:

- Safety: RFR shelters should be waterproof and storm resistant to a certain degree. RFR shelters should be designed to withstand high temperatures and resist the spread of flames, improving living conditions, increasing community resilience, and promoting a safer environment for refugees to live.


- Long-term cost savings:

RFR shelters may be more expensive to build initially, but they can save money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent repairs and rebuilding after fires. In addition, the materials of RFR shelter kits can be reused for a long time because they are designed to be demountable.

- Increased community resilience:

Building RFR shelters can contribute to the overall resilience of the refugee community. By reducing the risk of fires, refugees can focus on rebuilding their lives and improving their futures.

- Environmental sustainability:

RFR shelters are designed to be reusable, thereby they must be considered environmentally friendly and sustainable. A calculation has shown that 91% of the Materials can be reusable and 83% of the investment costs can remain at Cox’s Bazar local economy. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of the refugee camps and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the area.

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