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Using Shipping Container for Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief Image by zendt66 from Flickr Creative Commons - shipping container
Image by zendt66 from Flickr Creative Commons

When responding to a disaster, no matter what type of disaster it is the quicker that you can get onto the scene and start supplying relief the better. There are many different natural disasters that afflict the world within which we live.

  • Hurricanes
  • Tsunami
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado
  • Flooding
  • Famine

It is essential to try and get the help to where it is needed as quickly as possible, so that those that are in need of assistance can get the help that they require. The humble intermodal Shipping container is the perfect tool to be used in situations such as this as they can be transported by land, sea, air and rail very easily. But why is a Shipping container going to help you might ask?

Making Shelters from Shipping Containers

Due to the ease of transport of a Shipping container to almost any point in the world, they are the perfect choice to use when faced with a natural disaster. These rectangular metal boxes can be transformed easily into many different types of structure that would be important during any disaster management program.

  • Temporary Housing
  • Medical Centre/Operating Theatre
  • Kitchen/Canteens
  • Workshop
  • Planning Room

Shipping containers are being converted into temporary structures that people are living and working from, all over the world. You can see these on building sites, in school yards, and even in people’s gardens as they recycle Shipping containers to make useful structures and homes.

Well Designed Portable Buildings

Open top shipping containers from Port Shelters do not have to be just rectangular rooms, as it is possible to join the containers together in a variety of different shapes. When these temporary shelters arrive at their destination, they can be quickly unloaded and joined together, leaving you with the desired room to assist with the relief effort. If the space is limited, they can even be stacked on top of each other, and you can add an external walkway and stairs so that you can easily access the upper levels.

You can design each building with a specific function, and you can have a small city up and running in virtually no time at all. The speed that you can get a relief effort organized and up and running is essential in these times of great need.

Quick and Fast Relief

Anywhere that a cargo plane can fly to, a large ship can sail to, a truck can drive to or a train can go to, you can easily deliver a Shipping container. You can even use large cargo helicopters to deliver a Shipping container to precisely where it is needed.

The Shipping containers are not only easy to transport, but they can be connected and joined together very easily also. As long as you have stable ground to place the containers on, you would be easily able to have a structure made from up to 20 Shipping containers or so very quickly. You can have them erected and ready to use in only a matter of days. This short lead time is essential in order to help save lives, and give people the resources that they need, when they need them the most. So as you see, the average Shipping container is a lot more versatile than people give them credit!

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

1 Comment

  • A very smart idea because those shipping containers come a little more cheaper than homes. It would also be really portable and easily accessible to any location. I really wonder if the disaster relief teams use this because it is a really clever idea.

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