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IKEA gets first order for flat-pack refugee shelters

By Helena Soderpalm

Sweden’s IKEA has received its first order for temporary flat-pack refugee shelters and expects to double or triple production in the coming three years, it said on Friday.

After developing the shelters together with the IKEA Foundation’s social enterprise Better Shelter, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has signed a frame agreement for 30,000 units, of which 10,000 will be delivered this summer.

The shelter, which comes in flat-pack cardboard boxes, can be assembled on site without additional tools and has a solar panel and a lamp.

Better Shelter’s head of business development Johan Karlsson said the first units will go to refugee camps in Iraq and possibly Ethiopia.

“We have around 53.5 million refugees and internal refugees in the world so this of course is just a drop in the ocean,” he said, adding he expected production capacity to at least double or triple from 30,000 in the coming three years.

One housing unit is big enough for five people and costs $1,150.

The privately-held Swedish company, known for its flat-pack, self-assembly furniture, reached a net profit of 3.3 billion euros in the 12 months through August 2014.

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