practical shelter innovation for disaster relief

Comments and feedback

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJsrh6xtmU4
    This video shows the appalling situation in the tented villages as the rains hit Haiti for a second time. The ReciproBoo shelter by having a central frame in the roof would prevent this water build up and the necessity to puncture the tarpaulin.

    (Posted on 2011-07-27 07:50:00 by shaunvet1)
  2. Hi Bernado,

    You have raised some good points. As you say, used in a horizontal plane, its use as a floor structure is well documented and proven. This is its most stable configuration as the forces of "gravity" are holding it together.

    Regarding the issue about contact with the terrain. I have found that the frame performs well as a structure in itself at 30˚ inclines provided the two frame poles that touch the ground are fixed. It is effectively being used as the roof/wall of the emergency shelter.
    If the two ground frame poles are lifted onto available supports such a bamboo poles or masonry, the structure becomes less inclined and, as you point out, an increasingly functional roof.

    Interestingly, by using 2 frames (see modular ) the walls can be at a higher incline due to the TeePee like support of the two side poles.

    Thank you for drawing attention to the economic advantages of the emergency shelter. This is such an important feature of using a reciprocal frame for construction that enables 30% less steel to be used for the shelter.

    (Posted on 2011-04-17 19:47:00 by shaunvet1)
  3. So, here's my personal opinion>
    First of all, I wish all the disaster related technologies were as structured as this one. I find many many advantages, mainly economical. It is flexible and fairly easy to install, but there is an issue regarding contact with the terrain. It is, after all, limited to a roof structure.
    In Mexico -my area of knowledge regarding disasters- it wouldn't apply, for the quick reaction of the Army Corps solves 99% of the situation with military style tents. Not ideal, I grant it, but sufficient nevertheless.
    It would be great to see it double as a floor structure, or at least finding the best complementary technology for its floors.

    Great effort, great product!

    (Posted on 2011-04-17 19:44:00 by Bernardo)
  4. Thank you for drawing attention to this vulnerable group of children under 5 and pregnant women that ReciproMal is directed at.
    I understand that the immunity in this group is particularly low which accounts for a higher mortality. When I started looking at a simple frame for hanging nets I envisaged the whole family using it. While this may still be the case, it would be good at the very least if children would " take to it " as their "den". By lifting the net higher above the occupants this simple frame may go some way to alleviating some of the fears and sleeping problems that result when conventional nets are poorly hung. I would be interested to hear other members views and experiences of the use of mosquito nets and whether they think this initiative can be put to practical use.

    (Posted on 2011-04-17 19:40:00 by shaunvet1)
  5. I am a paediatrician specialising in international child health and tropical diseases. My father has some interesting ideas. I am particularly interested in the idea of using a ReciproMal frame as a practical support for mosquito nets. Malaria affects 300 million people ever year mainly children under 5 years and pregnant women and every day up to 3000 children are dying from malaria and many more are left with long term sequelae including brain damage and learning difficulties from cerebral malaria. Yet as we know malaria is both preventable and curable. There are already a number of international and NGO initiatives supplying mosquito nets around the world. I hope that interest will be generated in this design and start a discussion into the ways in which it can potentially be used to help prevent malaria and what advantages it may have over current schemes

    (Posted on 2011-04-17 19:36:00 by Jay)
  6. Hi Barb,
    Thank you for raising the issue of using other materials. I hope someone with more experience working with bamboo will come on and help me out with these answers.

    1. Attaching the ropes to bamboo. Secure the rope at a node on the bamboo as this is the strongest point and will also help prevent slipping. For tying a guy rope to a tent pole a Tautline Hitch knot is recommended ( www.realknots.com ). Another option is to lash a second short length of bamboo to the main pole to get a non- slip anchor point for tying a rope.
    I envisage that the side ropes will not be required where bamboo resources are plentiful.
    It would be better to replace these ropes with rigid bamboo poles. The only reason for the side ropes is to enable the significant saving in the amount of steel used compared with apex roof tents (and reduce weight for transportation).

    2. Yes, it can be built without the hooks . They are just the simplest method I could devise for attaching the ropes without drilling holes in the poles. I started with pre-drilled holes in the poles but found this reduced their strength unacceptably when supporting heavy loads of insulation. Alternatively commercial screw on attachments, as used for standard tents, could be used.

    3. Other materials can be used but strength is the limiting factor. Wooden poles are not strong enough. I found that alloy poles were satisfactory for lightweight tarpaulins but flexed too much under the weight of the relief tarpaulins and were not suitable for heavy insulation loading.
    Bamboo, weight for weight, has properties stronger than steel making it ideal for this type of construction.

    4. Durability. Steel is most durable in the intense UV tropical sun and wet conditions (compared to fibreglass poles etc). Bamboo is much preferred of course and although less durable (vulnerable to insect attack etc) it can be treated to make it last considerably longer. In an emergency, the fresh cut green bamboo is durable enough for construction of emergency shelters.

    5. I think steel poles will not be available in many countries. However, the intention would be to preposition stocks of many thousands of frames in countries around the world close to potential disaster areas.

    6. Is it possible to teach the design and construction for use in a variety of materials to local users? Yes definitely; this is what we hope will happen. The concept is simple to demonstrate and the ability of 4 bamboo poles to support a person standing on them when laid reciprocally is very convincing.

    Thank you for asking about using other materials, apart from what we have discussed it also raises issues of cost , transportation, environmental impact and recycling of materials.

    (Posted on 2011-04-17 19:27:00 by shaunvet1)
  7. Great ideas here and can see the many advantages of the technology.

    Regarding using bamboo - I'm not clear on how the ropes would attach. Can it be built without the use of the bent tent hooks?

    Also, I'm wondering if this could be built with other materials other than steel and bamboo? Are those the most durable? Are the steel poles readily available in most countries? Is it possible to teach the design and construction for use in a variety of materials to local users? I'm thinking more outside of disaster relief situations where I assume these would be brought in by aid agencies.



    (Posted on 2011-04-16 16:42:00 by Briggsbarb)
  8. Comments and replies on the forum have been copied to this page.

    (Posted on 2011-04-16 16:37:00 by shaunvet1)

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