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UMUKULU, Eritrea, 29 April 2013 In 2012, UNHCR unveiled its shelter programme in Umkulu refugee camp located in the Northern Red Sea region, where Somali refugees are hosted with the objective of providing them with decent shelter and thereby improving their living conditions. With the collaboration of the Office of the Refugee Affairs (ORA), UNHCRs implementing partner, and approval ofpay the Municipality Children should not the price of Massawa, UNHCR constructed 17 semi-permanent Health houses as a pilot project with the participation of the community. By the end of April 2013, 17 houses were successfully completed and handed over to the community. These houses were allocated to 17 single female head-of-household, who were previously living under the main electrical line, which is considered a dangerous area. These women at risk and their children are now safe and of have been granted a higher The Theme the Mont: level of protection.


region becomes unbearable in summer, reaching up to 45 degrees celsius. Solomon specifies that: The houses were built with concrete hollow block and covered with corrugated iron sheeting, materials and design which ensure natural ventilation and complete protection from the sun light. The houses were completed Saleh Meki, Minister ofin a record time of five months. In fact, the construction started in November 2012 and was completed in late April 2013, just in time to face the warmest period of the year in Umkulu Refugee Camp. Drawing on the skills available in the camp, this project involved the refugees themselves, who worked as masons and carpenters in the construction of the new houses.

The Operati onal Guidelines

Even though the camp has been in existence for more than one decade, this is the first time that semipermanent houses have been built for the Somali refugees; until now, refugees have been living in rows of tents. Prior to starting the project, comprehensive research was undertaken to ensure a successful design and proper geographic placement to optimize the overall comfort and longevity of the houses. Thought was also given to the materials used, as the material is as important as the design when it comes to countering the elements. Solomon, the engineer of the new houses in Umkulu, explained that the position of the houses was chosen based on the climatic conditions. The houses have a high level of ventilation with four windows and moderate exposure to the sun, which is important because the temperature in the Northern Red Sea
UNHCR Office in Eritrea
Campo Polo Area, Meteten St. 1A754 House no.35, P.O.Box 1995,

The new houses in Umkulu have not only provided protection and safety for women at risk and brought job creation and commitment within the community, but above all an air of hope and happiness. The shelter programme will continue if enough resources can be made available with the objective to provide adequate shelters to all refugees (approximately 3,473 Somalis) in the camp.

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